Now that it’s December, it’s time to start getting serious about those holiday cards! Maybe you’ve already had your family photo taken, ordered custom designs, or if you’re really on top of things, you popped them in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. Or, if you’re like me, you bought them but haven’t sent them out yet.
While I am pretty easygoing about holiday cards, I do have a few rules I live by when it comes to sending out cards – and a few pet peeves. So without further ado, here are 5 pieces of advice that will make giving (and receiving) cards a smooth process!
Holiday Cards: 5 Pieces of Advice
It’s still early, so don’t panic yet – but don’t sit there thinking you’ve got time, either. Now is the perfect time to get started! Make a list of everyone you want to send cards to and their addresses. Then, sit down and write a few each night, instead of killing your hand trying to write out 100 cards in one night!
Generally, if you are sending most of your cards locally, getting them out by December 15th is fine. If you’re like me, and they’re all going cross-country, aim for December 10th at the latest. That way, you’ll be sure it gets to their home by Christmas. Hanukkah is December 6-14 this year, so if you’re aiming to deliver cards to your Jewish friends on time, you’d better get on it now!
When in Doubt, Go Neutral
Every year, I love getting cards from friends and family all over the country – and no, I don’t care if they’re Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, or general “Happy Holidays” cards. I like them all, and I could not care less what they say on the front.
I still don’t understand why people get so angry over getting a card that doesn’t explicitly reflect their own preferences – it just seems rude to me. I don’t want my Jewish friends sending me a Christmas card if that’s not what they celebrate, and I wouldn’t want them calling to yell at me for sending a card with something vaguely “Christmasy” on it.
That being said, I go with a neutral holiday card anyway. I think mine this year have candy canes on them or something. I do this because I don’t want to send out two sets of cards, or try to keep straight who gets which.
I say choose a design you like, and don’t worry about it. If your luxurious Uncle Donald wants to pick a fight with you at dinner because your card didn’t say the word “Christmas” on it, tell him to straighten out his combover and grab another eggnog. It’s not that big of a deal, honestly.
Everyone Signs The Card
I’m not joking on this one. If you are old enough to write your name, you sign the card. Don’t make your girlfriend/wife/mother do it for you – it’s a huge pet peeve of mine, and it just comes off as tacky.
If you are a baby, obviously your mother will bail you out…or she’ll make you scribble on it with crayon, which in that case you go nuts.
No More Year-End Letters
My other major pet peeve is the annual “holiday letters.” Please stop sending these. I’ve never read one of these that didn’t come off as smugly over-righteous.
They’re all kind of the same anyway – your kids are the best at everything, you get to go on better vacations than all of us, your marriage is more pure and faithful than ours, and you had a cyst in your arm drained four times last spring. If I want to read all about how much better you are than me, or your family’s gross medical abnormalities, I’ll go check my Facebook feed.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering – I do read them solely to judge you for your horrendous grammar and spelling skills. I can’t help it.
Saying Thank You
Thank you cards are tricky. It’s a good idea, but not always necessary – so here is how I do it:
Send a Thank You card if:
- …the card came with a gift of any kind. Even a $5 Starbucks card warrants a thank you note. Even if you plan to see the person during the holidays, a note is still a nice gesture.
- …you forgot to (or didn’t) send them a card. Send it immediately, and if you want to be less obvious, make it a “Happy New Year” card instead. If they made the effort, so should you – even if it is late.
- I’m with Jenna Lyons about one exception to the hand-written card: sending a short email if the gift is something delivered by a third party, like flowers or candy. It’s nice to let the person know their delivery showed up on time, rather than making them wait a week or two to find out via a card in the mail.
This obviously doesn’t cover the post-holiday thank you notes, which you should send to anyone who gave you a gift, hosted a party you attended, or babysat for you while you got hammered on New Year’s Eve.
Well, now I’m off to get my list ready.
I also need to find out where to post office is around here so I can buy stamps. The stamps I have left are still from Ohio, if that tells you anything about how often I buy stamps.