A few ideas:
1. Include photos taken all year long.
I usually tend to pick out those that show our best sides and ones that definitely are worth sharing, and it doesn't matter if they aren't professionally done but simply capture who we are! =)
2. Incorporate a short letter or update.
Unfortunately I only keep in contact with some people through Christmas cards -- perhaps this should be a New Year's Resolution, to be a better friend! But I do like to get everyone up-to-date with our family.
3. Print my own.
Often I can find excellent deals online (and I hope this year will be the same, and know that I'll be sharing it here too!). But I've also printed my own on both photo paper and also plain paper. I've used Microsoft templates before, but I've also cut and pasted to make my own!
4. Use digital services.
In years past, I've used Snapfish, Shutterfly, and others; I believe you can also utilize services at Walgreens, Sams, and other retails stores too. But those are always fun, and you're sure to get a good product. Another (new -- to me!) company to consider is Purple Trail for your personalized holiday cards.
5. Write a short note to the recipient and sign the card.
Even with pre-printed cards, notes, or newsletters, I like to add that last bit of personalization by hand writing the recipient's name, adding a short postscript, and then signing my name. Just a small way to let them know that I took some time to reconnect and do send BEST wishes.
6. Create your own stamps!
I found a great deal last year and put a picture of our little one on the stamp! Needless to say, that was a HUGE hit with the family -- some even cut the stamp off to display too!
Ah, I'm so excited now! The weather's starting to turn cool, and I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas! (It got really cool and rather dreary last week, and I joked about putting the Christmas tree up -- at least I only have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving!) I'd like to get a few more pictures taken before I start working on my cards; I need a good picture with all of us!