So far in our steps for a peaceful Christmas series, we’ve talked about preparing your holiday budget, planning your gift giving, and organizing your calendar. One thing per week, a little at a time… they help make the holidays enjoyable instead of chaotic.
What’s the next step? Well, doing this week’s task early enough will save you money, keep your hand from aching, and protect your late nights from grumbling over something that’s meant to be a blessing.
It’s not an essential part of everyone’s holidays, but it’s important to our family. That’s why I like doing it with plenty of time to spare.
Organize, order, and address your holiday cards
Not everyone bothers with Christmas cards anymore, and I understand why. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and they’re not as essential as other aspects of the season, such as gifts or food.
But I still love sending cards—because I love receiving them. We hang photo cards on our fridge the entire following year. To me, it’s one of the few things during the holidays that keep us connected, tangibly, to the people we love.
It’s expensive, yes. But you can save money the earlier you plan.
Photo card options
My preference is sending photo cards, because it’s what I like to receive. I love seeing how kids have grown, and it puts faces to the names of people we talk about with our kids. Photo cards remind us to pray for people.
(And as a side note, I prefer seeing entire families in the photos, and not just the kids. C’mon, grownups—get behind the camera, too!)
Pre-made photo cards
• Tiny Prints has a beautiful selection. They’re pricier, but you can’t go wrong with any of their designs. High-quality printing as well.
• Snapfish has a good deal right now—30% off and free shipping on all photo cards until November 22 (that’s in five days).
• Shutterfly currently has free shipping on orders over $30.
• I love supporting designers at Etsy! Order a photo card design from stores like Roxter Designs, Paper Kite, Grace & Co, and Harper Gray, and they’ll usually customize them for you (I used to do this as a side business, and I loved creating photo cards exactly how someone wanted them). Search “photo cards,” and you’ll have more than your pick.
Added: Grace & Co created a coupon code for Simple Mom readers—10% off all purchases until November 30. Just use the coupon code SIMPLEMOM1130 at checkout. Thanks, Grace & Co!
Photo card by Roxter Designs
And of course, brick-and-mortar stores like Target, CVS, Costco, and the like always have photo card options. I prefer to use these guys just for printing, though, especially when I buy an Etsy design and print them myself.
DIY photo cards
If you have a knack for Photoshop (or its equivalent), make photo cards yourself and have them printed. This is what I do almost every year, and it saves me bundles. As you design, keep in mind that 4×6 photos are considerably cheaper to print than 5×7.
A 4×6 photo will need a size A6 envelope, and a 5×7 photo will need an A7 envelope. I usually order them from Amazon because we send out quite a few cards, but you can easily find high-quality envelopes sold individually at local paper stores.
A cheaper alternative is to turn your photo cards into postcards—you won’t have to buy envelopes, and you can use postcard stamps, which are less expensive (at least in the U.S.).
Gather your addresses
It’s no fun writing friends and family the night before you want to mail cards, asking them for their snail mail address. Start gathering them now, when you’re not rushed or panicked.
If you’re in the States, order stamps online, and they’ll be delivered the next day. I haven’t bought stamps at an actual post office in years.
Address envelopes early
This activity is a great excuse to pop in a holiday movie and sip on hot cocoa. Just do a few each night for a week, and you’re done. Kids with readable penmanship might enjoy this task, too.
Return address stamp by Primele
I print our return address directly on the envelopes—I’d rather run them through the printer for 30 minutes than spend hours writing the same thing repeatedly. One day, I may splurge on a beautiful return address stamp—I’m drooling over the ones at Primele.
If you simply can’t afford snail mail greetings, email is still a friendly, etiquette-approved option (if you’re asking me, anyway, but I’m no Emily Post). Please don’t go overboard with the flashing lights and instamusic, though. A simple informative-yet-not-long email with an attached photo is great.
I’d rather receive these than nothing—I can always print out the photo and stick it on my fridge if I want.
Sending hand-signed cards is a dying art, but it’s personally important to me. I want my kids to know the value of writing letters, so for us, sending holiday cards is an annual family affair.
When I plan in plenty of time, creating and sending cards is a festive tradition, and not a hand-aching chore. I love it.
How about you—do you send out cards? Newsletters? E-greetings? Don’t bother? I’d love to hear your reasons.