Holiday Cards — 98 Days and Counting

posted by Andrea | 09/18/2010

Holiday cards can seem like a waste of time, especially if you wait until the last minute to whip something together.

The task of finding the perfect card, writing the perfect message, including the perfect family picture, addressing each envelope with your perfect penmanship, and getting them all out in the mail before Christmas day is simply unrealistic…even for the most organized person with never-ending Christmas cheer.

I know it seems overwhelming now, but I think holiday cards are a great tradition to keep, and they can be relatively simple if you just plan ahead.

Here are a few ideas to help you simplify your holiday cards.

1. Timing is Everything:

Who says you have to send your greetings out at Christmas? Why not send them out at Thanksgiving, after the New Year, or even during summer break? If you are always too busy during Christmas, send your card before or after the holiday. I guarantee no one will think anything of it, and you’ll save yourself all that stress!

In 2008, we sent out a New Year’s letter and used “HAPPY NEW YEAR” as an acronym for our letter. It took a little creativity, but I simply created the entire letter in Publisher and saved it as a PDF (I used Cuted PDF’s free program). We did mail it to most of our family and friends but had the ability to email it as well. We basically summed up our year in a few short paragraphes,  included several pictures, and updated our contact information all on one piece of paper!!  {You can click on the image below to enlarge it…but it’s blurry for a reason!!}

2. Get Creative:

As I sit here typing and thinking about the different holiday “cards” I’ve sent, I realize that I’ve never actually purchased traditional holiday cards! There are so many other, less-expensive, more-convenient options like:

  • Printing photo cards from Shutterfly, Snapfish, Picnik, etc.
  • Creating a newsletter like I showed you above
  • Sending e-cards through websites like Cross Cards,  American Greetings, or Holiday Ecards.
  • Making your own cards from card-stock, craft paper, stamps, etc.

Let me reiterate; I am NOT a crafty person…but last year, we didn’t have a ton of exciting news to share in our Christmas letter so I created these “cards” out of 4″x9″ strips of scrapbook paper.

First I purchased full 12″x12″ sheets of scrapbook paper (mine says Merry Christmas). Then I cut 3″ off one end so I could run them through my printer (12″x9″).

I printed our holiday greetings on the back side, and then cut them into three 4″ strips. They were the perfect size to fit in a #10 envelope {yes, I did plan that}so after adding a simple brown square and “Joy to The World” stamp, all we had to do was stuff and mail!

3.  Save Time — Use Labels:

Last year, I met a woman (at a random garage sale) who was ranting and raving over someone who sent her a “labeled Christmas card”. She went on to explain how she makes 500 cards from scratch every year, writes personal messages in everyone, and addressed them with calligraphy. She said it takes her months to accomplish this and she starts in July!!

I love the look of gorgeous penmanship and the idea of hand written cards as mush as the next person, but the fact is, we don’t all have time for that — and we certainly don’t all have great penmanship! Not to mention, it really shouldn’t matter how we address our cards. Isn’t it what’s inside that matters?

Personally, I have gotten into the habit of printing return address labels using VistaPrint — only $1.99 for a whole roll! I print my own address labels using Avery labels (I use clear labels for a more professional look.)

And by printing my own labels, I can save the document for next year…which means all I’ll have to do is update a few addresses and hit “print”!
I will be talking about holiday cards more in the next several weeks, but these are just a few tips to get you thinking about what you might want to do this year.

Click here to read all the Clutter-Free Holiday Countdown tips!


Filed under: FamilyHolidays

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