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Sending holiday cheer

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{ Blog Swapping Series, Part 8: My bestie over at Girly Obsessions and I have been swapping blogs every couple weeks. She brings you her musings, inspiration and in today’s case, Christmas card etiquette, while we discuss our obsessions. Check out my post, where I tell you all about my obsession with the Real Housewives. Of any county. Of any state. }

It’s that time of year again: holiday card time. Apparently 85% of households in America participate in this tradition, with over 1.5 billion holiday cards sent each year. (An average of 58 cards per home.) I am a bad hostess and am sad to admit that I am in the 15% that doesn’t participate. I have in the past and I WANT to, but every year my procrastination gets the best of me and it just doesn’t happen.

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But that doesn’t mean I don’t drool over well-designed holiday cards. Companies like Tiny Prints and Minted make it easy to send beautiful, personalized holiday cards. I don’t even know how I’d choose between all the fab designs! Not only do both companies offer endless options for custom cards, Minted has extras like party decorations and gift tags, and Tiny Prints has address labels and personalized gifts. I could play on these sites for hours! I also love the Minted Minibook series which would make a great keepsake for family members. And of course I love their collaboration with J.Crew. And Tiny Prints has that fabulous Tory Burch collection, which I know my fave sisters must love! Even if you don’t have a great photo to feature, don’t worry, these cards will totally make up for it in style and presentation!

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And if you are sending cards this year, here are some general etiquette guidelines:

  1. I know “Happy Holidays” seems cliché, but it’s better to send a religiously-neutral card than to offend someone. Although if someone on your list would be offended by the very nice gesture of sending ANY card, I say they don’t need to be on your list next year.
  2. When addressing cards, “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” is considered formal and “Jane and John Doe” is considered informal, but both are correct. The wife’s name goes first. Obvi. If the card is address to a couple with two different last names, the woman’s name goes on the first line and the man’s below. Yup, that sounds about right!
  3. If you are addressing a card to a family with children, you should write out their names: “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, Susie and Bobby.” Again, girls first.
  4. Add a personal touch by writing the recipient’s name inside the card, or including a short note. Or at the very least, sign your name, even if it’s already printed on the card. It will make you look like you care, which you obviously do since you’re sending the card to begin with.
  5. Remember to put your return address on the envelope. Totally worth investing in printed address labels. The proper placement for social correspondence is on the back flap of the envelope.
  6. Seems like a no-brainer, but try to get cards in the mail so they are actually delivered by Christmas. Unless it’s a New Year’s card. A general date to keep in mind is December 17th, before the post office is totally swamped.
  7. Only send a family newsletter to close family and friends. The people who actually care.
  8. Apparently cards should only be sent to people who are NOT receiving a gift from you. Didn’t know this one.
  9. No confetti. Ever. As much as I like glitter, I don’t like it spilling out of envelopes.
  10. The proper way to insert a card into the envelope is to lift the flap and place your card into the envelope face-up, towards you.
  11. Don’t be like me and procrastinate. I still have unopened boxes from four years ago that I bought to send, but they never made it out of the packaging. It’s easier to address a few cards each night than to try to do them all at once.
  12. Seal the envelopes, people. If you don’t want to lick envelopes (why can’t someone make them taste like candy?), use a damp sponge or a glue stick. Or at least a sticker. Some sort of adhesive.
  13. Square and oversized cards require extra postage.
  14. Is it ok to send e-cards? Some say it’s tacky. Others say it’s environmentally friendly. It’s definitely cheaper. Emily Post says it’s OK, but she makes a good point: don’t send an e-card to your grandmother who doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer. Limit the attachment size. Use the BCC feature to keep recipient’ addresses private. Send to personal rather than work e-mail addresses. Still include a thoughtful message to make it as personal as possible. And try to send it out at least one week before Christmas so it doesn’t look like a total afterthought.

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So even though I’m slacking this year (I’ll try to get my shit together for next year), I truly appreciate and look forward to receiving holiday cards! Good luck to those of you sending cheer this year! May your stamps be plentiful and your post office lines be minimal!

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