Christmas Cards

runninginplaceDecember 8, 2005

I finally feel I've got a good system going for my holiday cards.

A few years ago I set up my mailing list using Avery labels and downloadable software at This lets you just type in the number of the Avery label, which then preformats so you enter the addresses and voila they are ready to be easily printed out. If you send to the same group of folks annually, doing this one time means your task of addressing is now eliminated, save for printing (and annual changes of course but at least the majority is set up).

I also regularly buy my holiday cards at the post-holiday sales, and I keep them in one place. For me (hi Talley :) it is a drawer in my coffee table. No, it isn't where I keep the rest of the holiday supplies but it's convenient, out of sight and air conditioned. Found storage.

Anyway, I have all the blank cards in one spot. I keep blank holiday label sheets in there too, along with the one I've already printed out. I buy my holiday stamps early and store them in the same drawer. I even pre-print a sheet of return address labels and stick that in there.

So...on an evening when I have some time to sit down everything I need for cards is in one place ready to go.

This year it took me about 1 1/2 hours, mostly spent doing my cards while half-watching Desperate Housewives :). I have a card list conveniently set at 30 names/families-the size of one Avery label set. But of course you can do as many or as few as you need.

I really do feel like I've finally got the system down. Although at first I had a twinge at having preprinted mailing and return labels, it gives me some extra time so I write something personal in each card. The preprinted labels plus having everything in one set place has made this a task I don't mind doing at all.


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Someone on one of these forums said that she addresses her Christmas cards while she waits for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night!

I thought that was really neat.

I don't think I could bring myself to do labels. The card itself is preprinted; I barely have time to write much on it; at least if I address it, I actually had to think about those folks while I looked up their address.

I will confess that Christmas cards are losing any appeal they might have ever had for me; they all, even the ones we send, feel like junk mail.

That's why I just can't bring myself to do them, and I leave it to DH.

Maybe I ought to try to send just a few, so I have time to write a little note in them. Or not send cards, just get notepaper and write 4 sentences to everybody. Of course, I'd have to only send them to people worth the effort, which would cut the list considerably.

And I could ALSO cut the list a lot bcs I could eliminate the relatives I see on Christmas; I'll tell them the sentiments in those 4 sentences in person.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 10:18AM
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Most years I send out about 40 cards. This year I bought a box of only 32, assorted designs. I decided this year will be different. I am doing a lot less decorating. And instead of mailing out 40 cards, I will send out cards only to people who send me one. When the 32 cards are used up, that's it. So far this year, I have received only 3 cards. So I don't think I'll have a problem. And if I receive cards after my supply is gone, I will make a list and phone or email those people. And by the way, Happy Holidays to All on The Home Site!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 12:05PM
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"I don't think I could bring myself to do labels. The card itself is preprinted; I barely have time to write much on it; at least if I address it, I actually had to think about those folks while I looked up their address."

Oh Talley Sue, how far apart we're drifting...:) I have the complete opposite take on it! I feel a slight twinge about the address labels but reason that it's more important, to me, that I write something personal inside instead of the preprinted 'signature' of our family. Too funny...

I have noticed that over the years fewer and fewer people seem to be sending out cards. Every year I get a few drop-offs, but I hang in there. One reason is that I have an extremely narrow style focus (tropical/beach holiday) and it's such fun for me to even find cards I like, not to mention sending them out to people I KNOW are not going to see too many or indeed any like mine. So I keep doing it.

I did give up on outside lights. Although we've never put 'em up I have a big box ready to go. But...nobody else was willing to do a single bit of the job with me so I followed the OTH sentiment and decided I wasn't interested in doing it all myself. So, lights back up into the loft. Maybe next year. Or maybe not but at least I won't be outside feeling like George Bailey!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 12:59PM
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I don't preprint the signature--it's just that the sentiments written in the card ("happy holidays," etc) are created and printed by the mfr, and all I do is sign. Even if I carefully pick the card for its wording, it still feels like a cop-out.

Maybe if I did the address labels, I'd feel like I had more time to write those 4 sentences ("It was so nice to see you at Thanksgiving" or whatever) on the card.

Maybe I need to be more like you. 'Cause I'll tell you, it's feeling really weird to not be just saying "what Ann said"! LOL!

(the *true* OTH thing would be to take the outdoor lights to the Goodwill, LOL!)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 3:57PM
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I have done the address labels for the last few years. I do mailings for our other businesses, so this was very easy for me. I keep all the envelopes of cards sent to us during the season, update my list after Christmas, and I'm ready to go the next year. I don't have any problem at all with printed labels - if I didn't do it this way, I probably wouldn't send any at all. This way, I can print out the list ahead of time and show it to DH, he adds or deletes anyone he does or doesn't want to send one to, then the labels are there, and when we get a few minutes, we write out a card. No trying to figure out who I haven't done yet, what is their address, did they send us one last year, etc. So it's easy to write a quick note in the card.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 7:31PM
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"I have noticed that over the years fewer and fewer people seem to be sending out cards."

Yes, I've noticed this, too. I'm one that loves to receive Christmas cards and get photos of the kids. I don't even mind those somewhat nauseating printed letters that come with some of them.

When our children were younger, I was so good about getting my cards out very early. Now I'm lucky if they get out the week before Christmas, and it wouldn't even bother me if they got out after Christmas. It's the thought that counts!

Every year we do a photo card, and this is the part that is getting harder as the kids get older. We had our family photo taken with Santa and might use that, but DS blinks in every picture we take! So who knows. Hey, I still have another couple of weeks, huh?

I put our cards through the printer for the return address and mailing address. I prefer to spend the time writing a short note inside the card.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 1:19AM
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Every year I plan to do a picture of the kids for my cards, but I rarely manage to get them done. I think I'm averaging a photo about every 3 - 4 years, lol. I'll start on December 1st and write the odd card or two to the folks who never get sent pictures anyway, thinking I'll do the rest of the cards when I get the photos copied ... then about a week before Christmas I realize the pics just aren't going to get done and I blast through the card writing in a day or two and out they go.

I do enjoy the exchange of cards, and I write something personal in each one. My pet peeve is the cards that arrive pre-printed and pre-signed and looking like someone's robot took care of the cards this year. That really irks me -- I feel like I'm on a mailing list, not receiving a card from a friend. Mailing labels don't bother me -- they're a godsend! -- it's that darn pre-printed signature if it comes without any other note, message, photo or whatever.

I also love to get cards with photos of everyone's kids in them, even if I rarely manage to send them myself. I also confess to enjoying those Christmas letters, the more over the top, the better!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 12:47PM
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I found the best way of all...

During that "Christmas card discussion" I mentioned that it wouldn't really be the end of the world if we didn't send any this year, since I was burned out on the process. My husband offered to do it this year! So he did...

Well, I put the stamps on.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 1:21PM
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We (I) send less than 40 cards and it doesn't matter whether we receive one back this year or ever. They're either a chance to reach out to far away friends, or a "thinking of you" to older relatives out of town.

Since there are so few, setting up labels doesn't appeal to me at all. Sounds too office-y and mass-produced to me. And I don't even type labels at the office. :)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 5:42PM
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I enjoy getting cards (and even those letters), especially because it's sometimes the only time during the year that we hear from certain people.But what really annoys me is getting a card with only a signature, no news. Why bother with a card at all if you're only sending me a piece of paper? I'm talking about people far away. I want to know a little about what their year was like!

One fun thing I do is choose my favorite card from those we do receive, and after Christmas I write that person a note and tell them they won this year's award! Sometimes it's the prettiest card, sometimes the funniest, or maybe one with a sentiment that strikes home. Extends the season just a bit!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 6:28PM
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If I get a card from someone with no news, and I WANT news, it's a nice reminder to pick up the phone and call them!

But the Christmas letters always do make me laugh. One in particular is an out and out Brag List. This year I teased DH that we should write back a reply on several issues where we could "beat" her family. LOL

I know, I'm BAD!!!!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 6:11AM
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Because my kids are small and, for now, cute, I take a picture every year and send out cards. I order them from Kodak gallery with the photo on the card and a short message with our names. I have lables ready to go in my computer, so I print those out and stick them on.

I send out about 100 cards. For the people I talk to frequently - other local families that send out similar cards and close relatives - I may or may not write a quick greeting or have the kids draw a small seasonal picture. For more distant friends and family I write a few lines of whatever. I don't send out those letters. We get one or two of them every year and they're a little odd.

I love having all the cards and particularly the photos, up to decorate my fireplace.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 12:05PM
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Whew, Talley Sue--I misunderstood, so we're still hopefully twins separated at birth :). My cards are "pre printed" the same as yours, with the holiday message.

I agree w/Sheri about cards that have the signature printed inside, and mailing labels and not a blessed personal or handwritten does seem robotic!

We've never done photo cards, mostly because I've never been organized enough to do it. We have one family who do them every year and I've kept em all. They are national park rangers (well dad is, mom is a SAH-retired ranger) with 2 beautiful little girls who actually are child models(!). They live in ranger housing on an island in Biscayne Bay just off Miami so the cards are just amazing. Year by year pictures of gorgeous kids in this stunning setting. I always look forward to seeing what they send out.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 3:32PM
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Well, I got lucky. I mailed out 32 cards. I got the last one to the Post Office yesterday. It's to my next-door neighbor,but I felt cheap about walking it over. I think the 37 cents shows I care. Anyway, this is the first year I sent "reactive" cards only to those who sent cards to me first. I got very lucky and had enough to go around. On my busiest day, I sent out five cards. Because I did only a few each day, I had time to write a sentence or two on everty csard. And tomorrow is Saturday Dec 24. The last mail delivery! Hurray!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 9:02PM
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I just have to report that I got my Christmas cards out in time! Woo hoo! I honestly didn't know if it was going to happen. I have sent a photo card every year since 1989, when our first son was born. For the longest time it was just a picture of the kids, but now DH and I are in the picture as well.

I love getting Christmas photo cards from other people!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 2:45AM
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Great family photo! I'm definitely writing this on my calendar for next summer. We have never sent out photo cards but I love getting them.

Good job on getting them mailed!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 6:59AM
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One set of cousins always sent us a family photo each year. Then a couple years ago, they sent us a card saying this will be the last photo and a collage of past-years cards. It was definitely a "keeper". And I looked at it with tears in my eyes. I love receiving cards with photos and letters.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 8:41AM
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I'm just curious, but why did you only send "reactive" cards this year? That's something that I've never done, knowing that some people have had problems or illness or deaths in their families and just aren't in the mood (or whatever) to send out cards but would appreciate knowing they're thought of.

I talked to my sister yesterday. She had a card with a handwritten note in it from someone she swears she doesn't know!!! She's thinking it must be from someone new on one of the committees she's serving on. Then we started laughing about how she should send a card back, and include a small token gift saying, "This reminded me of you and I had to send it." ROFL Just a little off-the-wall holiday humor... :)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 9:54AM
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I sent cards "reactively" only to those who sent me cards first because I'm actively trying to pare down the list. In other years, I sent out as many as 100. I figured if I send to one cousin,then I should send to all my cousins. And if I send to one neighbor I should send to everyone on the street I'm friendly with. I did make one exception. One of my husband's cousins lost her husband this year. I sent her a card. I am just pleased I didn't commit any faux pas. Everyone who sent me a card also received one from me.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 9:41PM
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Jannie, that brings up a good point. When do you drop someone off your list? Or do you? If I don't hear from someone after a few years, I tend to drop them off my list. (Unless it's my mom's large extended family.) Anyone else?


    Bookmark   December 25, 2005 at 3:17AM
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My list includes only those people that I truly want to send written Christmas greetings. This means, for example, only the aunts and uncles I'm close to, not all of them. Some people on my list never send out cards, but I don't care.

Each year I receive cards from coworkers or people I serve with on committees, or whoever, but I never send one in return just because they sent me one first. (If I should feel guilty, I don't.)

The list only changes when someone dies.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2005 at 6:17PM
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Thanks, Julie! I never stop sending to family, but when old friends stop sending cards for many years, I eventually stop sending any back. I am guilty of sending one because someone else sent me one first. Oh well!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 1:37AM
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