This year’s Christmas card designs are both high-tech and time-honored. And some of the best are made in Seattle.

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Christmas and seasonal greeting cards have long been an artistic niche that inspires illustrators and designers.

This year’s designs are taking advantage of advances in drafting and production — holography, music embeds, digital photography and laser-cutting among them. Other designs begin life with time-honored tools like the paint pot, pencil box and scissors.

Shondra Neumayer, of Portland, combines vintage-style typography, folk-arty woodland silhouettes and marquee-light imagery with rustic barn-board backgrounds in cards she sells at her Etsy shop, InkDropDesign. She began designing cards out of frustration with what she saw as a market filled with cheap and cheesy holiday cards.

“Going to the mailbox should be an exciting event,” she says. “Each (year) I found myself asking the question, ‘Why can’t Christmas cards be cool?’” The  Ampersand Merry & Bright card ($13 for 8 at etsy.com/shop/InkDropDesign) is a prime example of the work.

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The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been selling holiday cards since 1954. Chay Costello, the museum’s associate director of marketing, says pop-up cards have become particularly popular.

 Ampersand Merry & Bright card, $13 for 8
Ampersand Merry & Bright card, $13 for 8

“We started to see an increasing trend toward cards with special features,” Costello says. “Instead of a card with graphic artwork on its front, many artists have begun to think three-dimensionally, with spiraling and fold-out elements and elaborately crafted pop-out constructions that result in a card that’s a gift in and of itself.”

The designs feature paper manipulation at its best: shimmering snowflakes, shooting stars, skiing reindeer, and holiday bouquets that “bloom” when the card is opened. There are twirling ornaments, sleds that swoosh through a forest, Santa perched precariously on a ladder decorating a tree, and a paper bucket full of holiday champagne.

New York-based artist Elsa Mora’s Wintertale Holiday Card ($20 for eight at momastore.org) includes a village complete with homes, holly and dancing children.

Papyrus Christmas Tree Banner, $13; Sporelandia Joyful Forest Holiday Card, $3.50; Hello! Lucky Happy Holidays From Seattle cards, $18 for six
Papyrus Christmas Tree Banner, $13; Sporelandia Joyful Forest Holiday Card, $3.50; Hello! Lucky Happy Holidays From Seattle cards, $18 for six

Other creative cards include the Papyrus Owl Felt Ornament ($9, an adorable felt owl that you can hang on the tree, and Christmas Tree Banner ($13), which folds out into a 4-foot garland of Christmas trees adorned with buttons, gems and glitter on a green ribbon.

Galison’s Tri-Fold Holiday Cards ($15 for 10 at galison.com) create a fun 3D effect with gingerbread people, Christmas deer or Andy Warhol’s festive shoes and ornaments.

For local cards with edge, pick up Seattle’s Sad Shop Christmas Cards ($5 each at etsy.com/shop/SadShop), with sentiments for the less-than-joyous, such as “Holidays are for crying and eating” and “Merry Christmas. Hopefully I sent this by February.”

For a hand-touched look, consider Sporelandia’s Joyful Forest Holiday Card ($3.50 at etsy.com/shop/Sporelandia; use code MUSHROOMGRAVY for 15 percent off), which features a whimsical original illustration of happy mushrooms in a forest by Seattle artist Katie Miller.

Send a piece of Seattle with the Hello! Lucky Happy Holidays From Seattle cards ($18 for six at Sip & Ship, Ballard), with all of the local landmarks on recycled paper.

ShopNW staff contributed to this story.