Sending or creating contemporary Christmas cards shows off your own simplistic design style while keeping with the tradition of staying in touch during the holidays. You don't have to be an artist to design your own holiday greetings. Contemporary design has a minimalist approach that makes it easy for anyone to copy, whether on the computer, in a photo, or even with a little construction paper and a few drawing supplies. Here is how to design your own modern Christmas cards.

You don't have to worry about getting fancy supplies; you can make construction Christmas cards that will have a designer touch. You can cutout words to place on the front of the card to make an entire series. Pick a word that describes the recipient or their situation such as joy, hope or giving. You can line up a series of circle to make a snowman or basic squares with hearts on top can become presents.

If you think that customized Christmas cards are out of your skill level think again. Really, you just need to be able to draw or trace a circle. You can use dozens of circles to form a modern starburst. You can line the circles up in a triangle shape to form a tree that is made out of ornaments. If you are worried about the circles being uniform then try using the leftovers of a paper punch. Keep your color palette in the same tones such as using shades of peach and mustard yellow.

Unusual Christmas cards should have a traditional element used in an untraditional way. Contemporary design focuses on the shapes of items instead of lots of small details and graphics. You'll want to use one element several times. This gives your card a sense of continuity and you won't be able to find it in the grocery stores. Traditional cards display elaborate scenes of religious figures, nativities, sleds or the whole family gathered around the tree. Instead make an impact by going with the most simplistic shape that you can find that still depicts the image. You could draw a Christmas tree with a series of graduated lines.

Any items that you put in a triangle with a holiday message on top will become a tree. You can use a series of paisley shapes. You can even cut them out of existing scrapbooking papers for a retro card with modern flair. For a sentimental card try using a heart punch and then arranging the cutouts into a tree shape. You can also use a solid background and then cut out a coordinating paper to look like a ribbon and a bow. Your friends will enjoy the handmade touch and it gives you an opportunity to really show off your creative skills; even if you haven't used them since kindergarten.

Another popular way of making trees on cards is as simple as putting a large triangle on top of a smaller rectangle. You won't need to worry about focusing on every needle or branch. You can decorate the top of the tree by adding in crystals or scrapbooking embellishments such as snow flakes. Start out by using scrapbooking paper such as a stripe or snowflake print. For a truly modern touch skip traditional colors altogether and go with a palette of orange or chocolate brown. Pick a paper that when people open up the card they will know that you sent it. Then you can cut the tree shape out of a coordinating solid paper to turn it into a Christmas card.

Base your design around your favorite hobby or what you are known for. You can cut your card out to look like a purse or just use simple purse shapes on it. Then decorate the purses with poinsettias or candy cane stripes for that holiday touch.

If you are stumped when designing a Christmas card, let your kids do it. They won't limit themselves to colors and tradition. You can layer a series of bird shapes in colors like turquoise and purple. Keep the background neutral such as gray or taupe. Repeat the same image in different colors at different heights on the card for a layered effect that has graphic punch.

An easy way to bring in color is to use cutouts. Create a collage with different papers or just cut out the letters to Merry Christmas. Each letter can be from a different magazine article and then you can scan and copy it to give your card a finished feel. You can also add an air of opulence by putting a graphic chandelier on the front of the paper. Paired with a holiday message this will still read as a Christmas design, it will just have that elegant feel of a holiday decoration.

Add a sense of whimsy with a unique take on public domain art. Use works in the public domain so that you don't break copyrights. Then put a Santa hat on historical figures or add a Christmas tree to a famous painting. You'll turn something that people see often into something they've never seen before. You can also use photo shop to make traditional works of art into classic greens and reds. If it's a traditional holiday scene change it up by going with pinks and teals to make it look contemporary.

You can use a basic paint or graphic design program to make your Christmas cards. Start out with a dark dramatic background like purple or even black. Then write your holiday greetings in white. You can add in a simple white star for graphic punch. The simplicity of the card turns into the focal point and your words will really get attention so use them wisely.

Instead of thinking what is traditional think about what you like. You can turn a basic damask paper into a holiday card just by writing chic seasons greetings on it. Thinking outside the box is what makes your card really stand out. It allows you to send your personality to all of your friends and family which can be the best gift.