Do you send out Christmas cards? I starting doing them years ago when I lived on my own and I wanted a way to send out a holiday greeting to my family and university friends who lived far away. The idea that the recipient would get a nice card in the mail (when snail mail is so rare these days) was something that I hoped would add to their Christmas spirit. I’m glad it’s a tradition that I’ve continued on throughout the years. Usually I try to address and stamp my cards the last week of November and then mail them out in the beginning of December.
Despite the fact that the basket of cards has been sitting by the tree for three weeks now, I just got started on them last night. It’s been crazy around here lately and writing our Christmas Cards kept getting pushed farther down the list, so I finally sat down and started last night after dinner.
It got me thinking that there may be others out there who think that it’s too late to start writing Christmas cards or don’t know where to even start. Here are ten tips that I hope make this fun holiday activity easier, especially when we’re all stretched for time these days. If you have any more tips, leave them in the comments! I’d love to hear them!
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1. Make Your List: Putting together a list of everyone you’re going to send cards to may take some time, but once you’ve done it one year, you can keep using it every year afterwards. I shared an easy-to-use digital version in my Online Holiday Planner. You can use it on your computer or your smartphone, and update it throughout the year.
2. Look at Online Options: There are so many great online options for getting your cards printed. Storebought cards are great, but I love getting personalized picture cards from friends and family we don’t get to see very often. Minted has some great designs and there’s still time to place a rush order and get your cards out quickly!
3. Stock Up on Supplies: Make sure you have enough stamps, envelopes, cards and working pens. Once you get going, you don’t want to stop because you’ve run out of something. Make sure to grab an envelope sealer too, so you don’t have to lick all those envelopes. Even a glass of water and a small paint brush will work in a pinch.
4. Set up a Christmas Card Station: It doesn’t have to be much – just a basket with your cards and supplies – but having it all at the ready is much easier than digging them out every time you need to send a card. Whenever I’m ready to write some more cards, or work on the ones I started, I grab the basket and head to the table. Clean up is easier too – just tuck it all back in the basket for the next card writing session!
5. Keep It Jolly: If you approach it less like a chore and more like a fun holiday activity, it will go by quickly! I like to put on my favourite Christmas music or pick a beloved Christmas movie. I’m planning to watch The Family Stone tonight with a glass of wine while I finish ours up. That movie always gets me in the holiday mood, and I know it so well that I can focus on the task at hand while it’s on in the background.
6. Break The Tasks Up: If I try to rush and do all the cards in one night, I usually get burnt out. Breaking it up into a few evenings over the course of the week makes it much easier. I’ve been even writing some of them up on my lunch break. I try to prioritize them as well – international cards out first, then long distance and the last ones are local.
7. Use Labels or Stamps for the Return Address: Ordering a stamp or making labels for your own address will cut out a huge amount of time. I print out our return address on simple clear labels or even on clear full sheet labels and then cut them down to size. Here is a template of the one I used this year. If I’m in a pinch, I’ll also make labels for the front of the envelopes, or run them through the printer.
8. Get Everyone Involved. Enlist family members to help out! While I’m addressing the cards on the inside, Garrett adds the stamps and labels to the envelopes. It goes by much quicker when there are two of us working on it!
9. Write a Little Note Inside: I always try to write a brief personalized message inside the cards. Whether it’s a memory from the past year or something you’re looking forward to in the new year, it lets them know that you care and you’re thinking about them.
10. Know Your Deadline: Canada Post has a great guide for when to send cards and packages domestically, to the US and Internationally. You can also find these holiday shipping guidelines for the United States Postal Service and the Royal Mail.
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