I love love love getting Christmas cards. Each day in December I dash out to my mailbox to see if any newsy card awaits me. I hold my breath as I carefully open each card in anticipation of what is by far my favorite part of the Christmas card tradition. The picture.
The family pictures make the card for me. I just really love and appreciate them. Imagine my disappointment when I open a card and no picture falls out. It is so sad and disappointing but a letter makes up for it. Yet some don’t have that either, it’s just a card with a signature.
Please don’t send cards out of a sense of obligation. I think we are way too hard on ourselves. Christmas is such a busy time and it’s so easy to over extend ourselves which only leads to frustration and bitterness. No we definitely want to avoid that. That might mean avoiding Christmas cards altogether or being creative to come up with an alternative. For instance if you are a mommy blogger that frequently posts updates and pictures of your family why not just send out a Christmas email linking to a Christmas update on your blog.
Also let’s talk about the form letter. I know a lot of people don’t like them but I do. I like getting them plus I do my own every year. I just wouldn’t have time to write essentially the exact same thing out to each person 50+ times. To me that is just crazy. I type and print mine out on nice Christmas paper (25 sheets for $2.00 at the Dollar Store) and keep it to just one page. I keep it simple and just include the highlights from the previous year. I do make a point of handwriting a small personal greeting on each card though but only maybe one or two lines. I think the thing to remember here and the point of Christmas cards is to connect with friends and family who you might not have seen over the last year. I almost rarely do local cards because I can wish these people a Merry Christmas in person. Of course if I don’t think I’ll be seeing someone in town over the holidays then I’ll send a card just to let them know I’m thinking of them. For more help simplifying your Christmas card list, please visit this post by my friend Ariane of Neat & Simple Living.
Getting Christmas cards done early and without stress doesn’t have to be a daunting task and I might just be able to help you by sharing how I streamline my process. Each year at this time I set out to compile my supplies and get to work on my Christmas cards. By breaking the whole process down into manageable steps that can be done over a number of days you’ll have your cards done before you know it!
First thing I do is find myself a basket or box and collect all the supplies I’m going to need and keep them all together. This saves me much time in the long run. Here is the supply list I use:
- Christmas cards
- Address labels (I use Avery 5160)
- Christmas paper for letter
- Address book/checklist
- Return address labels
Once I have all the supplies compiled in my basket I am ready to go. I do NOT attempt to do my Christmas cards all in one sitting. I have a short attention span so breaking the project down into smaller tasks works very well for me. Each evening as I sit down to watch my taped Regis and Kelly show (I love this show and have watched everyday for the last 15 years!) I bring my card basket with me and tackle one of the steps. Each step, except for two, can be done while I sit and watch my show each night for 45 minutes. Some days I might get only one step done, some days more. Then I put it away and come back to it the next day. Here is my to do list:
update and print off address labels (this can’t be done in front of the TV obviously but it only takes about 15 minutes to update as I have the file saved from last year)
put address labels on envelopes
put return address labels on envelopes
cut out photos (I use school photos which come 16 to a page usually. Sometimes I’ll also add a snapshot of the three kids together if I have one)
write the date on the back of each photo
write greeting on Christmas cards and sign
put on stickers
put pictures in cards
type and print out Christmas letters (probably the step that takes the longest but no more than an hour and a half tops)
fold Christmas letters
put letters into cards
put cards into envelopes
put stamps on envelopes
(don’t forget that you can also get the kids involved putting on the stickers, labels and sealing!)
Thanks Regis and Kelly, I couldn’t do it without you!!!