Friday, November 09, 2007

Simplifying Sending Christmas Cards

Writing furiously to address and mail fifty cards in one day, the thought creeps in, "Maybe, they could be Happy New Year cards, or maybe Valentine's," and a promise is made to start earlier on those Christmas cards next year. They provide an excellent opportunity to reaffirm connections with family and friends, an opportunity that is easily lost in the season's busy schedule.

Conquer the Christmas card crunch by using an organized approach and addressing cards early. Organization is key. Keep a running Christmas card list and add new friends and business acquaintances throughout the year. Using your email program's contacts manager makes it quick and easy. Street addresses looked up online may even be added automatically, if using Microsoft Outlook, and by categorizing entries as "family," "friend," or "business acquaintance" they can be sorted into separate lists in a snap.

The number and type of cards needed can quickly be determined by reviewing the categorized lists. Sending secular cards to business and casual acquaintances is often advisable. Messages such as "Peace" and "Happy Holidays" are preferable when the person's tradition or ethnic background is unknown.

Christmas cards of all sorts are often available as early as the beginning of October. While they are usually not mailed until the week of Thanksgiving, addressing them can begin much earlier. It is the bulk of the work and can even be outsourced to a professional calligrapher or card sellers such as and Though setting aside a couple of hours on Saturdays, with the family, to address cards over hot cider can get them done quickly and be lots of fun.

Cards should be addressed, signed, stamped, and mailed no later than December 5th to allow time for recipients to send return cards if they wish. Additional cards kept in a container with stamps and a pen near where mail is read can make sending response cards quick and easy.

Once established, an organized Christmas card system can be updated throughout the year, simplifying keeping in touch with family, friends, and business acquaintances.


Janet said...

We send out approximately 175 cards. We're going to pare down the list this year, but because we have kids, everyone wants (or says they want) a picture. However, people I haven't heard back from in a few years are going to get pruned. And I may email a number of them this year. I hand address them because it annoys me that I hand address 175 envelopes when people that I know don't send out more than 25 cards print addresses on labels. I'm old fashioned that way. (Yes, my grandmother just spoke - did you hear her?) :)

Shannon said...

I hand print all of ours too. I love the personal touch. Of course, my grandmother taught me to always offer guests something to drink and eat and to only take things baked from scratch to parties and bake sales too..