I love sending Christmas cards, I also love getting Christmas / holiday cards. Growing up Christmas cards were serious business. My Mom kept a book of who she sent them to and who sent one to us, three years and no card you were off the list. It's something my friends and I discuss today, seems like lots of moms ran their card list that way and now I find myself being a little less strict but keeping up with my list the same way.
You would think that by 29 I'd have a pretty firm list of people I send Christmas cards to, but nope, it continues to change every year. Of course, the fact that I lost the disk with all the addresses from the prior year hurt a lot, that address list had every single person who attended my mom's memorial service or sent a card, it was a very handy but sad way to keep up with my non immediate family. A few years ago I use to think that I'd send a card to anyone that if I was to become engaged would make it onto my wedding guest list. Now that I'm a little older and a little wiser on the extreme cost of wedding I hate to break it to y'all but being on my Christmas card list does not guarantee you a spot at my future wedding, but it is the list I would start with. Every year I seem to fail to collect the addresses of and send out a few cards that I intend to send out but in general my ideal Christmas card list is comprised of the following:
1. Family dad, grandma, aunts / uncles, cousins. My Mom's cousin sent such a nice card after she passed and I think I sent them one that year but not in 2013, opps. I should really dig out the box with all the cards and update my list to do better next year.
2. Friends - duh
3. Sorority sisters - I used to do my whole pledge class but now I keep it to the girls I see annually or communicate with regularly on facebook from my chapter plus some ladies from my alumnae group.
4. Organizational acquaintances - this year that meant some Junior League members, Girls Inc Board members, Pegasus members, Young Republicans and a few people I know around town but we're not super close. I don't send one to everyone I'm on a committee or board with but the ones I feel I've gotten to know a little bit.
5. Coworkers - only the people I know the best at work, but always my boss. This year my CFO sent me a card, yikes, I felt terrible for not sending her one but didn't want to be seen as a suck up.
5. People I'd like to be closer to. Every year I always select a few people I think are great and I'd like to know better / reconnect with in hopes that my holiday goodwill will set the tone.
6. A frienemy. Yes, I always send at least one card to someone I don't particularly care for, I think the Christmas season is about peace on earth, goodwill towards man and seeing the same warm wishes that I send my loved ones to my not so loved ones makes me feel like I'm trying to be positive. I really do wish everyone a wonderful holiday.
In general I couldn't imagine getting a card from someone and being like oh screw you, how dare you send me a card. Any gesture of goodwill is always welcome in my mailbox and I hope in the mailboxes of people I send cards to. I do keep track of who sends me a card back, this year I had a 40% return rate, which is slightly higher than usual. I know lots of people don't send cards but it still makes me sad, Ideally I'd like to see my return rate over 50%. Every year I say I'm going to send out my cards right after thanksgiving and every year I send them out the week before Christmas, sigh! I do use pre printed cards but believe that every single card should have my actual signature. I also usually leave a little space for a personal message. I also have my pet's names on the card, last year my cat died right before they got sent out, I just didn't have the heart to cross her name out. My dad thinks it's weird to include pet names but I get lots of cards from people doing it as well so for now it stays.
I send a little over 100 cards out each year and always keep a few on hand to send to people who send me a card that were not on my original list. I think a lot of people do this. I also order extra to send some cards for Holiday Mail for Heros - it goes to our troops both overseas and in the US recovering from injuries. The program asks for cards with personal messages so those take a little time but I'm already planning on using left over cards from this past year for the program next year. I've got plenty of time to write four sentences on each one.
I usually get my cards through vistaprint but it seems that tiny prints is becoming a very popular option so I will have to give that one a try. My 2013 card featured a Lilly print, I just couldn't resist. I've already grabbed some prints from their website to consider for next year's cards. Here's the card I sent this past Christmas:
I'd love to hear your thoughts on your Christmas card habits, any tips for being better organized or etiquette rules I'm not following?