How do you feel about Christmas cards? Are they a nuisance? Are they stupid? Do they make you smile? I am one of those people who loves to get and send Christmas cards. That being said, I often have years where life gets busy, and they never materialize. I realized recently it’s because I don’t have a system for getting them done. I know what to do, but I didn’t have it laid out in simple, easy to follow steps.
The Joy of a Good System
I love a good system and when I get one in place, it’s amazing how well life works. I have a system for maintaining my home, my finances and my holiday prep. We are in the process of refining our financial accounting system to accommodate my blogging business and our system to stay healthy to help my husband and I get healthier. Why not have a system for sending Christmas cards that breaks the process down into steps I can follow easily and prevent overwhelm in the process? So here’s what I’ve come up with. I do one step at a time over several weeks, and there’s little to no stress involved. What’s really cool is that most of the steps, except for assembling, sealing and mailing the cards are flexible to my schedule. Isn’t that awesome? So here are the steps:
Simple Steps for Sending Christmas Cards
1. Edit your address list.
I keep mine in an excel spreadsheet that I print onto labels. It may not be as personal as hand writing each address, but it makes my life so much easier and with 80+ cards to send, I’m all about making the process easier. With texting and messaging, getting updated addresses is so much easier than it used to be. I also do this first because then you know how many cards you want to send.
2. Purchase your cards.
I’ve purchased online and in stores. This year Costco had great looking cards that were reasonably priced. Bonus was getting step 2 done at the same time.
3. Buy stamps.
Costco happened to have holiday stamps, so I purchased my cards and stamps at the same time.
4. Christmas letter paper.
This year when I opened my Holiday Joy Journal, I found paper I purchased on sale after Christmas last year. Yay me! One of my favorite places to purchase cute stationary for Christmas letters is through Current. There are also deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday if you want or need to buy in the current year.
5. Christmas letter writing.
I know some people think the purpose of the annual Christmas letter is to brag, but I see it more as a highlight reel and sometimes the most important events aren’t the happiest. This year my letter includes a part about my mom’s only sibling passing. It’s not happy, but it’s important. Other than that, I give a condensed version of what’s happening with my children, my husband and me.
6. Christmas letter printing.
Because I use special paper, I adjust my printing to match the paper. This usually takes a few tries to get it right. I print my letter on a plain sheet of paper, which I place on top of a piece of stationery and hold it in front of a light. It helps me see how the letter will print on the stationery without wasting any of it. I recycle each test sheet out as I print the next one until I get it just right. I also take my letter somewhere to print because it’s more cost effective to pay a few cents to print 80+ letters at a store than to use my own ink.
7. Pick and print a photo.
Some years I order cards with our pictures on them. One year I even found a card that I could write my letter and upload our photos. Sadly, I’ve not found that option in a few years, but I do add a photo because I keep the photos people send me and add them to my wall of fame. My wall of fame is now on the back of my front door. I display all of the cards and pictures people send through the holidays and then keep all of the pictures through the year. Each time I look at the pictures, I pray for the people in them. I think it’s a good practice, and it makes me very happy to do it.
8. Print address labels.
I love this step because it saves a ton of time and effort. Some people prefer to hand address and that’s fine. I will take the printed labels and be happy with the efficiency.
9. Address the envelopes.
Peel those labels and place them on the envelopes. I use clear labels so the color of the envelop show through, and I have a stamp for our return address which makes that process easy as well. This is when I add the stamps too
10. Assemble the cards.
This is when I’ll take the time to add a personal note to some of the cards, especially if I know someone has struggled or achieved something wonderful that particular year. Not every card gets a note, but many do.
11. Mail the cards.
I have mailed cards as early as December 1st and as late as December 26th. I much prefer December 1st, although it’s looking like it will be closer to the 5th or 6th for me this year.
There you have it, eleven steps to sending Christmas cards and stay sane in the process. The best part is that you can remove a step or two if it suits you. Make photo cards. Skip the letter. It’s up to you. Is there a particular step that stops you or you want help with? I would love to hear about it. Sign up for my newsletter, send me an email and maybe we can work it out together. Is there any other part of the holiday season you would like a system for? For more tips like this, order your copy of Happiest Holidays on Amazon and have your best holiday season ever.