This year, I have resolved to send my Christmas cards out the day after Thanksgiving. I think sending cards to business colleagues is a great way to build that congenial relationship without spending a lot of money. Because I have my holiday cards customized, I turned to my friend, and resident CHS paper expert, Virginia, for some advice on stylish holiday cards for the masses.
Belle (and Nordstrom) might believe that the holidays don’t really begin until after Thanksgiving, but I beg to differ. The day after Halloween I fully embrace the Starbucks red cup and influx of jewelry commercials on TV (Every kiss begins with Kay!) – and I start thinking about what is one of my favorite aspects of this time of year – holiday cards!
I love this card from Flora and Fauna Press because it reminds me of beautiful DC rowhouses!
What? That isn’t your favorite part of the Holiday Season, too? I love sending cards and opening my mailbox every day in December to find greetings from friends and family from all over the ends of the earth. I even love the family update letters and really do care that my second cousin Bob finally realized his dream of visiting the Grand Canyon this year (the more bragging in the letter, the better for my entertainment!)
Unfortunately, I worry that the art of the card is going the way of the U.S. Postal Service and soon we will be only sending each other half-hearted electronic greetings or worse, nothing at all. I know that sending out holiday cards takes some time and effort but I truly believe that it’s worth it to take a few hours on a December afternoon to personally say hello and send your wishes of peace and joy this holiday season.
Here’s some tips for you as you think about getting started:
1) Make your list, and check it twice: Obviously, the first place to start if you haven’t been sending out cards regularly is to make a list of all the people you want to send cards to. Make an excel file with the person or family’s name and address and update it regularly as you learn of address changes throughout the year. Although this can be time consuming the first year, you only have to do it once and can be used each year as you add folks and cross some off. If you were recently married, this task becomes a lot easier as you can just start with your wedding invite list and go from there.
Deciding who to send a card to shouldn’t be rocket science – start with friends and family that you’re regularly in touch with. Then start thinking about people in your outer circle – maybe families in your neighborhood play group and the co-worker that you’ve gotten to know better over the last year. Think about if you would like to receive a greeting from them and if the answer is yes, add ’em to the list.
Should you send a Holiday card to your boss? That’s more difficult – and it depends entirely on the relationship you have with him or her. If you’ve been working for the same woman for 10 years and know her family well, go ahead and send a greeting from your family to hers at her house. But if you’re a first-year staff assistant on the Hill you can always opt to leave a more professional greeting in the boss’ inbox or just say something personally before you part ways for the Holidays.
2) Find YOUR card – This is my favorite part and one that I spend way too much time on – picking out the cards! Depending on how many folks you want to send a card to, you can buy a giant pack at Target/order 200 photo cards or just pick up a few 10-card packs. The best part of this process is picking out a card that matches your personality – Whether you want to strike a cute, religious, preppy, professional, or modern tone – or just let your family’s picture be the focus – there is a card out there for you.
As a paper lover, I tend to favor independent designers who have used screenprinting or letterpress techniques, but they tend to have a higher price point and might not be realistic if you have a lot of people to send to. I tend to buy my favorite letterpress cards off of etsy for my close friends and family and then find a cute, but less expensive, pack of cards for the rest of my list.
3) Write it out: I’m about to say something that may be controversial, judging by the cards I get each year that are missing this crucial aspect. If you choose to send a photo card, WRITE SOMETHING ON THE CARD BEFORE PUTTING IT IN THE ENVELOPE. I’m not talking about writing a long note – I’m talking, “Happy Holidays! XOXO, The West Family.” Every year it seems to get worse; I get picture card after picture card that says absolutely nothing personal. It says, “I cared about you seeing how cute my family looks” and really nothing else. It is not that hard to sit in front of the tv and write a short note to each person – “Have a wonderful holiday!” “Can’t wait to see you in the New Year!” “Hope Santa’s good to you this year!” Really, ANYTHING is better than just sticking that card in the mail with absolutely nothing handwritten and personal. This is my plea to you photo-card senders to take it up a notch this year!
A cute set of 4 holiday cards from Dahlia Press Shop
Oh, and that antiquated rule about how you’re supposed to get your cards out by Thanksgiving? It no longer applies. These days, people are lucky if they get them out before Christmas. It’s entirely okay to send them anytime during December. And if you don’t get them done, feel free to send out “Happy New Year” cards instead!
I can’t end this post without sharing a few of my favorite holiday cards this season – and please share your holiday card tips or rants in the comments, too.
Thanks for having me, Belle! XOXO, Virginia
If you are a fellow paper lover, you can also check out Virginia’s new blog, A Papered Life.