The standard of wildlife-themed Christmas cards seems higher than ever this year, making it very difficult to pick.

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Here, we’ve done some of the hard work for you. We've narrowed down some of our very favourite designs, including those by some fantastic independent designers, some charity cards, and even some that directly support wildlife causes, through donations to British wildlife charities such as the RSPB, Woodland Trust, and the RSPCA.

One thing to bear in mind when buying your Christmas cards is the sustainability factor. In the UK, we throw away an estimated 1 billion Christmas cards away every year. That’s a lot of trees’ worth!

We have tried to include recyclable and recycled paper options on this list, as well as ones which have low or no plastic packaging and do not include glitter or foil. These ones are also so pretty that hopefully no one will want to throw them away and they can become lasting artworks.

For more Christmas inspiration, check out our guide to wildlife-themed Advent calendars, best gifts for wildlife photographers and best gifts for wildlife gardeners.


Wildlife-themed Christmas cards

Starlight Hare

This striking portrait of a hare bathed in starlight by Valerie Greeley stands out from the usual Christmas card crowd. As well as enjoying the lovely illustration you can also feel charitable buying these cards, as they are sold in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Although more often associated with Easter, given its associations with rebirth and revival, hares can still be seen in the UK around Christmas time if you are very lucky! Brown hares like this one are thought to have been introduced to the UK in Roman times and are best seen in early spring, mainly on farmland. During the cold of the winter, they may be found browsing on shrubs if snow makes their normal grazing difficult.

Greeley, who created this beautiful print, says that the design was inspired by that of a medieval manuscript. You can buy more of her wonderful wildlife-themed artworks from her Etsy shop, including this adorable rabbit in winter print that would make a lovely Christmas gift. The manufacturer of these cards, Museums and Galleries, also makes so many more beautiful wildlife-themed cards, and you can’t go too far wrong with any of them. Another favourite are these adorable Brambly Hedge ones which bring me right back to my childhood, as well as these ones of a red fox and its cub travelling through a wintry forest.

Watchful blackbird

RSPB Blackbird card

Available as a pack of 10, this card features a blackbird against a wintry background and is designed by the artist Alison Headley. The message inside reads ‘Merry Christmas’ and it is made from sustainably sourced paper and card in the UK.

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Badger in the snow

Woodland Trust badger Christmas card

A snowy scene surrounds a beautiful badger on this Woodland Trust Christmas card. The message inside reads ‘With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year’.

All the Woodland Trust’s Christmas cards are plastic-free, FSC approved, and fully recyclable.

Arctic fox

All proceeds from the sales of these adorable arctic fox photographic cards go to support the World Wildlife Fund UK. The cards are made from FSC certified card and come in recycled/recyclable card boxes.

Plantable seed paper cards

Not only are these ingenious cards fully biodegradable, but after you are done with them you can actually plant and grow from them! Made out of ‘seed card’ they are packed with wild-flower and meadow grass seeds.

All you need to do is cover each card with a layer of soil and water and they can be enjoyed for months to come, not just the festive season. Your flowers and grasses can also support vital pollinating insects come spring. Zero-waste, a fun activity, and a boost for wildlife all in one!

The cards come in a selection of different fun seasonal designs and each card has instructions on the reverse that explain how to grow your seeds.

Goose vs Turkey Ice Hockey

If you are looking for something a bit more whimsical, you can’t go wrong with a card from Chilli Fox Designs, a Hampshire-based independent illustrator who loves to draw animals with human traits and in unexpected scenes. This one of turkeys and geese playing ice hockey is a particular favourite and is perfect for the season, but you can also have a narwhal underwater Christmas scene, a group of curling penguins, and more!

Christmas Wish

RSPCA red squirrel christmas card

If you would like to support an animal welfare cause with your cards, the RSPCA has a range of very adorable ones, including this red squirrel with a festive scarf in the snow.

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All their cards are glitter and foil free, printed on FSC board, and in recyclable packaging.

Authors

Leoma WilliamsAnimal behavior researcher and science writer

Leoma Williams is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester, and writes periodically for both the website and print magazine

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