Avoid these three common mistakes when sending your Christmas cards this year with our easy tips and tricks.
There’s etiquette that comes with sending out Christmas cards, or any correspondence for that matter. For example, you shouldn’t send e-mails or electronic cards in place of real paper Christmas cards, unless your relationship with someone is purely digital. And you shouldn’t send someone a Christmas card if they don’t celebrate Christmas.
However, even these long-held customs are starting to change. Many people agree that it’s OK to send e-greetings for the holidays because it shows your concern for the environment and desire to be green. And it’s now very common to send Christmas cards to family and friends of different religions, as long as you acknowledge the recipient’s faith with a more generic “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” in your message. The alternative is to simply buy separate cards that don’t mention Christmas.
There’s a whole lot more that comes with Christmas card etiquette, such as how to properly sign your family’s names (Dad first, then Mom, then kids from oldest to youngest) or whether or not you should include a return address (you should). For now, though, we’ll just focus on how to avoid the three most common mistakes when sending our Christmas cards.
1. Sending out Christmas cards late
Most people wait too long to send out their Christmas cards and typically drop them off when the post office is already extremely busy. That results in your Christmas cards arriving after Christmas, and nobody wants that.
The best time to send your Christmas cards is right around Thanksgiving — a couple of days before or after. That will ensure that your holiday greetings arrive in early to mid-December, with plenty of time for your friends and family to enjoy your beautiful, personalized creations.
We all know this is the busiest time of year. If you unexpectedly find yourself scrambling to send out your cards the week before Christmas, simply opt to send New Year’s cards instead. Include a festive greeting and best wishes for the new year and you won’t have to stress about the cards making the Christmas deadline.
2. Not including a personal message
With the popularity of custom printed cards and photo cards, many forget to include a personal message. Take the extra time to add a personal touch to your holiday cards with a short handwritten note or by signing your family’s names. (By the way, Christmas card etiquette states that one member of the family can sign for all others.)
When designing your custom Christmas cards, make sure you leave space inside a folded card or on the back of a flat card to write a few short words. This small gesture will show that you took time to give each and every card your personal attention and thought before putting a stamp on it.
If your kids are old enough to write, ask them to help! Your family especially will love seeing a personal message from your kids.
3. Forgetting someone
Some say we send out way too many Christmas cards as it is and that sending cards to people we’ll probably see at Christmas is pointless. Others take the opposite stance and suggest sending out holiday cards to everyone near and dear to us, including our closest family, friends, and even neighbors or coworkers.
If you simply can’t afford to send custom Christmas cards to everyone you know, split your list and send out cheaper holiday cards that fit your budget or electronic cards to your less important contacts that you’d still like to keep in touch with.
In the end, the decision on how many cards to send is entirely up to you. But if you’ve sent a card to someone for a couple of years in a row and this year decide to cut them from your list, make sure you won’t be hurting someone’s feelings. The last thing you want is for someone to contact you to ask if everything is OK since they didn’t receive a card from you this year.
A good rule of thumb on cutting down your list is to remove people you’ve sent a card to for at least two years and haven’t received one in return. This advice, however, does not pertain to older people on your list who might not have the means to send Christmas cards. Always keep them on your list. Oftentimes they might be lonely, especially around the holidays, and your Christmas card could mean the world to them.