By Tom Nelson and Mary F. O'Connor
Holidays offer almost endless decorating possibilities. While you can go all out decorating for Christmas, or any other holiday, you don't have to blow the budget. Using your favorite desktop publishing program or word processor, and free clip art, you can create your own holiday cards and postcards, invitations, place cards, tree ornaments, and other decorations.
Updated for 2013 holidays.
Dorling Kindersley, a popular and long-time book publisher, offers a wide variety of clip art and photos on its web site. To locate the Christmas clip art, click the "Browse Images A-Z" link on the left side of the DK Books home page, and then click the "Christmas" link. The DK Books web site currently offers 31 Christmas-related photos. Images include Christmas trees, ornaments, gingerbread cookies, mistletoe, a robin, a snowman, Christmas stockings, a Christmas star, a wreath, a snow globe, and a girl on a sled.
The ClipProject web site features a colorful collection of cartoon-style holiday clip art by artist Wolfi Korn. The images include snowmen, wreaths, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, holiday bells, elves, toys, singing mice, reindeer, dogs, rabbits, holiday stockings, presents, bows, penguins, and candles. The collection also includes several New Year's images.
The Graphics Fairy web site has almost 150 vintage clip art images to choose from. If you yearn for an old-fashioned Christmas, these images can help you set the mood. The possibilities include vintage postcards, line art, and full-color illustrations; some images are available in multiple versions. Subjects include vintage Santas, cherubs, angels, music sheets, birds, reindeer, snowflakes, snowy scenes, wreaths, poinsettias, snowmen, Christmas trees, ornaments, elves, children sledding, and Christmas frames and borders.
The Microsoft Office Clip Art web site offers a large collection of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's photos, illustrations, and animations. Among the illustrations and photos you'll find Christmas trees, ornaments, stockings, gift packages, candy canes, candles, bells, wreaths, family scenes, outdoor scenes, pets, Kwanzaa drums, Kwanzaa candles, Hanukkah dreidels, menorahs, Champagne glasses, and New Year's banners.
If you want to add an animated image to your web site, the possibilities include an elf balancing packages, a candy cane with a snowy background, sparkling ornaments, and blinking trees.
Dixie Allan, About.com's Guide to Clip Art, has a collection of original Santa Claus images on her web site, both vintage and modern. You can use the images to create your own Christmas cards, place cards, or invitations, or turn them into decorations for your tree. Be sure to wander around Dixie's site while you're there, because she has lots of Christmas and holiday images to choose from, as well as an interesting article about how Santa's image evolved.
he AllFreeClipart.com web site has a cheery collection of winter and Christmas images, including line art and full-color illustrations. The images include a variety of Christmas trees, both decorated and plain, wreaths, candy canes, holiday ornaments, candles, teddy bears, Santas, Santa caps, snowmen, and reindeer. Click on any image to see the full-size version, then right-click the image and choose Save Image As (or Save Image to Downloads) to save it to your Mac.
The AllFreeClipart.com web site also has an image of Kwanzaa candles, and a few New Year's images.
If cartoon-style clip art is your thing, you'll find plenty to choose from on the Hasslefreeclipart.com web site. Although the site doesn't have a large number of images, the selection is varied. Images include Santas in various poses and situations, stuffed Christmas stockings, holly, elves, kids with presents, dogs and mice with presents, a nutcracker, ornaments, reindeer, a rocking horse, a snowman, a trumpet, a Christmas tree, bears, a cat, an elephant, a unicorn, a platypus, teddy bears, and Christmas greetings.
You'll also find a wide variety of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's illustrations and photos to choose from. Just use the Search box near the top left side of the page to search for the holiday of your choice.
The ChristmasGifts.com web site has a delightful collection of modern and vintage Christmas clip art. The vintage images include a variety of Santas, kids, holly, vintage cars, sleds, a rocking horse, birds, poinsettias, angels, bells, outdoor scenes, and elves. The modern images include candy canes, candles, bells, bows, packages, Christmas lights, holly and berries, snowmen, ornaments, stockings, stars, Christmas trees, and holiday greetings. And if you're stuck for gift ideas, the ChristmasGifts.com web site can give you some pointers.