Christmas around the world

If you stared out of your window and saw that it was a bright sunny afternoon and a perfect day for hitting the beach in your shorts – would you believe it was Christmas?

If you live in the United States, probably not. But in Australia and other places in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas actually falls in summer when temperatures approach 100 F! So, Christmas in these places, is celebrated outdoors with picnics, beach parties and candlelight carol singing under the stars.

Find that strange?

Then, take this quiz to see how much you know about Christmas traditions and facts about the holiday and how it is celebrated in other countries.

  1. If you were eating rice pudding with a hidden magic almond in it and were leaving out a bowl of pudding for an elf called Nisse so he wouldn’t play too many practical jokes on Christmas, where would you be living?
  2. If your kids are impatient to open their presents, tell them about the country where children actually wait until Janurary 6th to open them. It’s the same country, where the evil witch Befana is said to leave coal instead of presents for the naughty kids and where people gather at noon on Christmas to hear the Pope offer his prayers and blessings.
  3. Christmas in this country is marked by the arrival of the Christ child Christkindli, a veiled angle who brings gifts. As she enters each house and begins handing out gifts, tree candles are lit. The holiday season in this beautiful country is incomplete without the sternsingers or star singers, who dress up as the three kings and parade down streets singing Christmas carols.
  4. Christmas celebrations start early in this country, on Dec 1st or even earlier. On Dec 5th, children leave a boot or shoe outside their homes and the following day, which is St. Nicolaus day, they find in it either presents or a rod depending on how nice or naughty they had been. An advent wreath is laid out flat on a table and a candle is lit each Sunday in December. Three candles are lit in this way and the fourth and last candle is lit on Christmas eve, thus helping kids keep track of the days remaining until the holiday.
  5. Where would you be if you were mummering? What’s that you ask? Well, it’s a custom in this country where people put on masks and act out Christmas plays. Their celebrations begin with attending the midnight mass. The Christmas feast, besides including at least two roasted meats, a variety of vegetables and roasted potatoes, is wrapped up with Christmas pudding, mince pies and a Christmas cake that is prepared a couple of months ahead! The day after Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day, referring to the custom of opening church alms boxes and distributing the contents to the needy.

How did you do on your Christmas Quiz? Are there any special Christmas customs or traditions your family follows? Tell us!

Answers :  1. Denmark, 2.Italy 3. Switzerland 4. Germany 5. England

Thanksgiving over, Christmas is here – What are we working on?

Here is a quick update on what we are up to in the GotFreeCards Christmas HQ:

1. Have you checked out our new Free Christmas Ecards?

2. We have started a whole new line of Printable Christmas Photo Cards you can add your photos and send out Christmas cards right from your home.

3. You can also create Free Printable Christmas Cards on your desktop to snail mail it.

But do not forget we keep adding many new Free Printable Birthday Cards. So enjoy our site and leave us your comments.

How to have a stress free Thanksgiving (or any holiday for that matter!)

With Thanksgiving about a week away, how are your preparations coming along? If you’re one of those meticulous planners, you probably have everything under control already. But, if like many of us, you still haven’t started, here’s a list that will help you plan a great Thanksgiving.

  1. Guests. Make a gust list. How many people are you expecting for the meal? How many children and adults? Call them ahead to find out who is definitely coming and if they’re bringing additional guests. Ask if they have any specific diet restrictions or preferences. (Remember, vegetarianism and veganism are in! You don’t want to end up spending hours fussing over a meal only to discover many of your guests won’t eat meat.)
  2. Menu. How many and what dishes are you planning to make?  How many side dishes? Will you be preparing all of them or is it possible to get someone else to pitch in? Some guests may be glad to bring a side dish or dessert. It might actually make them happy and reduce your work load – so everyone wins. When deciding your menu, pick the dishes that you are comfortable with. Don’t worry about outdoing someone else’s Thanksgiving. Stick with what you’re good at. And of course, a few traditional dishes.
  3. Shopping What are the things you need to buy? Check your pantry and cupboards and make a list of items you need to buy. Make a note of the quantity you will need based on your guest list. Write your note clearly and indicate which stores you plan to buy each item from, the quantities and the brand name, if you have a preference. This way, someone else can do the shopping for you, while you get something else done. It’s better to get shopping out of the way a couple of days ahead if you want to avoid the holiday rush in stores and on the road. See if you can get a couple of hours off from work in the morning when stores are least crowded.
  4. Decorations. Home made or store bought? How elaborate? Once you have decided, you can probably enlist the help of teenagers or older kids in your family. It will keep them occupied while freeing you up to prepare the meal and is also a great way to encourage participation from kids. Once you have given them the directions, don’t micromanage. When you aren’t looking over their shoulders, kids tend to do a good job.
  5. Entertainment. Think of ways to keep guests entertained during their stay. Plan for a family board game or movie. Ask your kids to bring out some of their toys, books, puzzles and games so visiting kids will have something to do. Have coloring sheets, crayons, a white board and markers handy to keep young kids engaged. For the grown ups who aren’t into watching sports, plan an activity like a stroll around your neighborhood or a card game. Don’t forget conversation. Be sure to spend some time catching up with each of your guests. Remember to take pictures of and with all your guests.
  6. Cleaning before and after. Enlist the help of all family members for getting the house in order before Thanksgiving. Allocate an area of the house or a certain chore to every member. Kids could clean up their rooms, pick up toys around the house and maybe help with wiping small surfaces like end tables and chairs. Rearrange furniture if you have to, so you can seat everybody and create conversation areas in every room. Move items you won’t be using for a couple of days like bicycles and exercise equipment away from the main entertainment space, to create more room. For after-Thanksgiving clean up, don’t hesitate to accept your guests’ offer of help. It will give you a chance to catch up and make them feel like they contributed.
  7. Miscellaneous. If you have to pick up out of town guests from the airport, see if you can get someone else to do it while you prepare the meal. If not, plan to leave work a little early, so you can get some preparation out of the way before heading out to the airport. Plan and prepare for traffic delays. Keep a watch on your local traffic beat. Keep your refrigerator stocked with extra milk, juices, vegetables and other items so you don’t have to go looking for a gas station or store that is open on Turkey Day.
  8. Send ecards. Don’t forget to send free Thanksgiving ecards to everyone – including the people who won’t be making it to your dinner. Schedule free ecards a few days ahead so you don’t have to worry about it the week of Thanksgiving. You could also print out a few Free Printable Thanksgiving cards for kids to color in.

Above all, relax and enjoy. Simply celebrate every aspect of the holiday, even if a few details happen to go wrong. Don’t sweat the little stuff. Who cares if your house isn’t spotless or if the napkins aren’t arranged like doves or if you’re one side-dish short? What’s important is that you and your loved ones have come together on Thanksgiving to think about all the things you are thankful for. Keep that in mind, and your Thanksgiving checklist won’t feel that overwhelming any more.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ten Facts about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is popularly thought of as commemorating the birth of what has become the United States of America.  According to the slightly-fudged history, Pilgrims, who had traveled to America to escape religious persecution, wanted to give thanks to the Native Americans after surviving a brutal winter.  Still, though, Thanksgiving is popular throughout the world, and there are many facts about the holiday that you probably aren’t aware of.  Here are ten of them:

  • Even though the Pilgrims were thanking the Native Americans for helping them survive their first winter in America, over half of the Pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower had already died from cold, hunger and other ailments.
  • Today Americans eat turkey and pumpkin pie, but in the first years of the Thanksgiving celebration, the main course was simply any bird that could be successfully hunted.  And as for pumpkin pie, a lack of ovens made that impossible, though there was boiled pumpkin for dessert.
  • The first American Thanksgiving took place in St. Augustine, Florida, which is also the first American city.
  • Today we think of Thanksgiving as a very special holiday, but back in the time of the Pilgrims, it was simply one feast day among many others.  Indeed, both English and Native American colonies had long been holding regular harvest festivals.  Thanksgiving is simply the one that endures today.
  • For many years after the first Thanksgiving, the holiday was only periodically observed.  After fruitful harvests, there usually was a large feast.  After bad harvests, fasting was instead  how the season was observed.
  • Today we think of Thanksgiving as a feast day, and, thus, it is mostly seen as a non-religious holiday.  The Pilgrims in Plymouth, though, put more emphasis on giving thanks to their God.  So Thanksgiving was originally a very religious holiday.
  • In modern times, Thanksgiving has become a once-annual celebration.  In the time of the American Revolutionary War, though, the Continental Congress regularly declared more than one Thanksgiving day in any given year.
  • America’s National Football League has hosted a game on Thanksgiving Day every year since the inception of the league.  Until the mid 1990s, the Thanksgiving Day game was the only game played on day other than Sunday and Monday.
  • The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday.  It is the heaviest shopping day of the year in America, and gets its name from the fact that many companies go from the “red” (losing money) to the “black” (turning a profit) because of day-after-Thanksgiving sales.
  • Perhaps the oddest tradition to arise from Thanksgiving is turkey bowling: a frozen turkey is thrown at a group of plastic soda bottles, with the object being to knock down as many of the bottles as possible.

So, as you can see, Thanksgiving is about more than just sitting down with your family and eating turkey.

Free Thanksgiving Ecards – making the holidays easier on you

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year or if you’re planning to travel some distance to spend the holiday with your family, there’s bound to be a lot on your mind. Planning, budgeting, shopping, booking tickets, packing and what not. At least, there’s one thing that you can do pretty much effortlessly – send free Thanksgiving ecards to your friends and family. That’s right. It won’t take a minute. And if you follow our advice, you can be sure that all your loved ones will receive a free ecard from you on Thanksgiving. So you can eliminate at least one last minute task from your ‘to do’ list.

Choose from a variety of Thanksgiving themes

Have you ever thought about Thanksgiving from a Turkey’s point of view? Or what the perfect Thanksgiving card for your husband (or wife) might say?  How about a Thanksgiving card for the shopaholic who can’t wait to start Christmas shopping on black Friday?  If your friends and family are a diverse bunch like mine, it’s always a challenge find the perfect wish and greeting card for everybody. You may have to spend hours browsing through cards, locating the ones with the right words and sentiments that convey your message. Why spend hours in the greeting card aisle when you can spend just a few minutes at your desk (or bed or couch?) sending beautifully animated Thanksgiving ecards?

Simply spend a few minutes browsing our selection to see what I mean. Whether you prefer a traditional, pilgrim themed ecard or a more humorous one, you’ll see that we have an ecard just for you. Our free Thanksgiving ecards section includes cards that children can send parents or grandparents and vice versa, ecards for spouses, friends and relatives.

Free, Convenient, Assured, On-time Delivery!

The best part of it all is not just that it’s free. It’s that you can send as many ecards at your convenience, any time you want, to as many people as you want, as many times as you want. And you can forget worrying about your card getting lost in the mail or being delivered late.

As for us – all we have to say is – we owe it all to you! Thanks for choosing to send free ecards for every special occasion in your life

Thanksgiving Activity for Kids – Printable Thanksgiving Cards

Happy Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming right around the corner, and that means it’s almost time for us to reconnect with family members we very rarely get to see.  Thanksgiving is also a time for grandparents to get hugs and kisses from grandchildren who live so far away from them.  How great would it be if this Thanksgiving you could help your son or daughter with a fun little project…something they could show to Grandma or Grandpa on Thanksgiving Day?  Well, here’s how you can do it!

With all the great free animated ecards available at, there are also a ton of “do-it-yourself” card projects, perfect for young children to do (with a little help, of course!).  With just a few easy steps, you can help your son or daughter make Grandma and Grandpa fun little printable cards.

First, go to the Free Printable Thanksgiving Cards page.  Once you’re there, you’ll see all kinds of different designs to choose from, in thumbnail form.  You and your son or daughter just pick your favorite one, and click on it. Oh, if you just roll over the thumbnail images with your mouse, you’ll get to see a larger preview of the image, too.

If you pick one of the coloring cards, all you have to do is click on your design, and when the larger image appears on the next page, click “Print.”  Then, you and your child can color in the picture together.  With these coloring cards, you can add your own text and photos, too; but they’re also perfect just the way they are, too.

If you don’t want to do a coloring card, though, just pick your favorite design among the others, and click on it to go to the design page.  The first thing to notice are the two tabs at the top of the page: “Cover” and “Inside.”  Clicking on each tab will show you a preview of the corresponding parts of the card, and you can edit both the cover and inside to your heart’s content.  For now, let’s start with the default: the cover.

A default image is displayed.  You have a couple choices here.  You can leave the image as is, delete the image (by clicking the X at the top left hand side of the image) and upload your own, or add your own photo over top of the existing image, repositioning it as you see fit.  If you want to add your own photo in any event, click the button to the right of the image that says, “Add Photo.”  You’ll be taken to an explorer window, where you and your child can look through all the pictures on your personal computer.  Find the one you want to use, and click “Open.”

After the picture loads, if you decide you really don’t want to use it, click the new X that appears.  Otherwise, by clicking and dragging anywhere on the image, you can move it around the screen.  You can also, if you position the cursor at any edge of the picture and then click and drag, resize the picture.  There’s also a little curved arrow at the top right of the image, too.  By clicking and dragging that, you can tilt the picture to different angles.  (All of these features, by the way, can be utilized with the default image, as well.)  Once you have your image just the way you like it, it’s time to move on to text.

Click the “Add Text” button, to the right of the card, and a text box appears inside the card.  After you type your message, you can maneuver it around the screen, in exactly the same way you did with your image.  Now, to the right of the card, you’ll see a bunch of font options.  Here, you can change the font, the color, style and alignment.

Now that we’re done with the cover, click the “Inside” tab at the top of the card, and design the interior any way you like—exactly the same way you did the outside!

All that’s left to do now is print.  If you just want the whole card on a single side of the page, which you can fold yourself later, click “Print 1 sided.”  If you want to print your card on the front and back sides of the page, click, “Print Front & Back.”

It’s a relatively easy process, as you can see, and a fun activity you can do with your son and daughter.  And don’t forget Grandma and Grandpa—they’ll love the Thanksgiving card you and your child made together!

Don’t wait until Turkey Day to Send a Free Thanksgiving Ecard


Send now, open later – a great ecard feature!

When it comes to ecards, my favorite feature is the option that lets you send your ecard on a chosen date. I love this because it gives me the freedom and flexibility to greet my friends and family when I find it convenient. I usually don’t forget a lot of dates. I remember most birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions without having to set event reminders or using a calendar. But, often, what happens is, on the day that somebody’s birthday or anniversary falls, I end up being swamped with work or waiting with an impatient and sick 3 year old at a doctor’s office or buried in something else, so much so that I sometimes end up not finding the few minutes it takes to send an ecard or make a phone call. So at times, I end up not wishing my friends and family on special occasions, even though I keep reminding myself that I should. So, this ‘Send on a chosen date’ feature, to me, is a terrific add-on to ecards. Now, I simply set aside a time during the week on a day when I’m not too busy or on weekends and send free ecards to all the people whose special days are coming up. I pick the date the ecard needs to be sent and that’s it. Never again do I have to miss sending someone a free ecard just because I’m too busy or don’t have access to the internet.

Sending Free Ecards ahead of holidays frees up your time

While this feature is great for birthdays and anniversaries, I find it very useful for holidays as well. The problem with holidays is that there is always so much going on that it’s not always possible to do everything you want to. Besides, holidays are times when you have to wish several people on the same day, which could take up a lot of your time, amidst all the frenzy already happening around you.  Take Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas or New Year’s for example. Most of us want to wish at least a dozen people on these holidays. Parents, siblings, cousins, friends, colleagues…the list could be quite long for some people. So, if you were to sit down to send them all ecards on the holiday or the night before, it would take you forever. Besides, there’s always the chance that you might accidentally leave out someone in a hurry. So, what I do, is a few days before the holiday, I start sending out the ecards. I set aside a few minutes every day to send about 5 or 6 ecards and then check those names off my list. By the time the actual date arrives, I’ve covered all the people on my list and can be sure that they will all find an ecard from me in their inbox.

This method gives me more time to pick and choose the ecards I want to send, to personalize each ecard with a message and almost always gives me some last minute grace time to send free ecards to a few people I may have missed.

Send your free Thanksgiving Ecards today…You will be thankful you did!

Why not try this for Thanksgiving? It’s still a few weeks away and you have time on your hands. Start today. Make a list of all the people you want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving. Everyday, send out ecards to about five of them (more or less depending on how many people you want to send ecards to) This way, you can be assured that all your loved ones will receive an ecard from you on the day of thanks. And just like that, by spending a few minutes each day, you would have conveyed your love and gratitude to all the special people in your life. And on Thanksgiving Day, you won’t have to furiously type away hurried messages, sending ecards to mis-spelt email ids. Saying Thank you doesn’t get any easier.

So, say Happy Thanksgiving to your family and friends with our beautiful selection of free ecards. If our variety makes it difficult for you to pick, go ahead and pick as many as you want. You still have time to send all the free ecards you want to, remember?

How do I make Christmas Photo Cards?

Christmas Photo Cards
Christmas Photo Cards

It’s become a tradition, in many families, to mail out Christmas cards with family photos attached to everyone on the gift list.  I have a niece, for example, who I’ve watched grow up, one year at a time, just through the yearly Christmas cards her parents send out.  Now, the tradition of sending photos to your family members along with your Christmas cards has gotten a whole lot easier, and a whole lot cheaper, too.

The first thing you need to do is point your Internet browser to the Got-Free-Ecards Christmas photo cards page.  On this page, you’re going to be faced with the first of several decisions: what size card do you want to create?  Currently, there are designs available in 5” x 5” and 8” x 4” sizes.  And within those sizes, there are several designs to choose from.  Just pick the one you like the best, and click on it.

On the next page, you’ll see a larger version of the card you’ve picked at the top of the screen.  Below that are options for customizing the font—including alignment, color, size and style—and on the left size of the screen there’s a list of step-by-step instructions for making your card (so even if you forget everything I tell you here, you’ll still be set!).

The first thing you’ll want to do is hover your mouse over the center of the stock photo on the card.  A button will appear, which reads, “Upload Photo.”  Click it, and you’ll be taken to an explorer window, of the contents of your computer.  Go through the contents of your computer, find the photo you want to upload, and click, “Open.”  The stock photo on the card should be replaced by your own personal photo.

Hover your mouse over the picture again.  Along the top edge of it, you’ll see three more icons: to zoom in or out on the image, or to flip it around in 90 degree increments.  And at the bottom of the picture, just below the “Upload Photo” icon, there’s a “Best Fit” icon.  Now, if you use either of the “Zoom” icons, you’ll be able to click and drag your photo across the screen.  Use this feature if you want to crop it in a specific manner.  Also, after using “Zoom,” an icon appears at the bottom of the picture, to the left of the “Best Fit” icon, that will allow you to automatically resize the photo to cover 100% of the screen.  And, if after all your own fooling around you’re still not happy with your own results, just click that “Best Fit” icon, and the picture will automatically resize to an optimal fit and position.

Now, if you want, you can leave the stock message—“Merry Christmas”—as it is.  Or, just click once, anywhere over the text, and you’ll be able to retype your own message.  Now, see the gray box above the text?  Click and drag there, to move your message anywhere on the screen.  And you can even change angle at which your message appears, by clicking and dragging the green colored curved arrow at the top and right of the text box.

Now it’s time to mess with all those text options at the bottom.  You can change the font color, the size, the formatting style (like bolding and underlining), and even the type of font itself.

If you’re satisfied with everything you see, then there’s only one thing left to do: click “Print.”

Not only is this whole process a lot more personalized than sending regular Christmas cards, it’s also less time consuming.  And, best of all, (if you ask me, anyway) it’s absolutely free!  So this Christmas, why not change up the tradition, and try Christmas photo cards

Thanksgiving – Does gratitude spring from your heart or from you lips?

Thank you
Thank you

How many people will you say, “Thank you” to, today?

Your doorman. The cab driver. The guy at the coffee shop. The person who holds the door open for you. Or asks you to have a seat in the lobby. When you think about it, you probably say “Thank you” more times than you realize everyday.

The question is, how many times do you really mean it?

We learn to say the words early on. Even 2-year olds know to thank you when you give them treats. Sure, the words sound sweet and it seems like they’re the right thing to say. But, when you give it some thought, you’ll probably see that most of the time, they’re empty.

We say thanks when someone wishes us a nice day, and yet, do we really spend a moment to appreciate the beautiful day outside? We say, “Thank you” to the person who hands out our order at the drive in. And yet, do we really feel the gratitude deep in our hearts, for the food we are so blessed to have everyday? “Thanks.” “Thank you.” “Appreciate it” are words we use over and over, without giving as much as a thought to what they really stand for.

Gratitude – is it just a seasonal, marketing tool?

It’s one of those over-stressed, yet under-valued concepts that has spotlight shined on it every once in a while. Like around Thanksgiving, for example. The entire month of November, you’ll probably see articles and blog posts everywhere you look about being thankful. Come December, and the focus will turn to the best holiday deals and New Year’s parties. Why is it that something that ought to be an intrinsic part of our lives and our vocabularies acquires importance only during certain times and fades away into oblivion for the rest of the year? How did we end up reducing gratitude to something like a seasonal allergy that we talk about only when everybody else is talking about it?

How do we go back to being grateful for and appreciative of the gifts in our lives, not just around Thanksgiving, but all through the year, year after year?

  1. Before you say “Thank you”, stop. The next time you’re about to say the magic words, catch yourself. Think about what you’re going to say. Whether you’re about to thank the cashier at a store or the teller at the bank, remind yourself what you’re grateful for, before you utter the words. They will sound far more sincere, leaving you (and the other person) in a better, more appreciative frame of mind.
  2. When you say it, mean it. Or don’t say it. When you say “Thank you”, make sure you’re expressing your feelings, not just exercising your lips.
  3. Be thankful, even if you don’t say it out loud. There are countless gifts we’re blessed with – small and big, for which we can’t be thankful enough. Be it our family, friends, our health, our jobs, our lifestyles, the opportunities we’re given, the talents we have or just the fact that we’re alive. Regardless of your religious beliefs and faith, appreciate all that you have at least once everyday. You don’t have to be expressive – just spend 30 seconds thinking about and being thankful for the wonderful gifts in your life.
  4. Thank the people closest to you. They’re the people who care the most for us and who love us unconditionally. They’re also the people we appreciate the least. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, children, husband/wife…we can never thank the people we love enough simply for being a part of our lives. Just thinking about what life would have been like without even one of them…makes me shudder. But, sadly, they’re the people, I’ve probably said the least “Thank you”s to! If you’re like me, today’s the day to change that and become more appreciative of all their loving gestures. If you’re not too good with words, or don’t live close to them, our Thank you Ecards are a great place to start. Of course, adding your personal note or even better, making your own Printable Thank You Cards would be great.

What are you really thankful for today? And how will you say it?