I am not a big photo card maker, so instead of using a photograph, I took a holiday-themed napkin, decoupaged it to cardstock, and took it from there. It's pretty close to the sample, but enough different that it's my own. It was also really easy to make and didn't take a ton of time - I think this may be a staple for my cards this year, for some special people on my card list.
I haven't sent cards the past two years, so if I manage to get at least 40-50 in the mail this year I'll be really happy. Putting work into making my own ups the odds substantially, I think :)