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Gather your holiday addresses now, when there’s still plenty of time

This week, I’m collating our Christmas card mailing address.  This isn’t too complicated for me, since I already keep an extensive database of friends and family with FileMaker Pro.

But even if you don’t have this, it still shouldn’t take you too long.  Set aside a few hours this week, and gather your mailing addresses.  Even if you’re planning on a simple newsletter sent via email, make sure you have correct emails.  You don’t want to spend hours nagging your friends (and your friends of friends) when you could be snuggling on the couch with hot chocolate and Elf.

If you don’t have a comprehensive address list, here are a few places to start:

  • your wedding mailing list
  • university and/or sorority alumni databases
  • church directories
  • your kids’ school directories
  • Facebook

And here’s the key – keep these addresses for next year.  You can invest in some database software, or you can simply keep them in Excel and print them for your Home Management Notebook.  There are also a few online secure address books, such as Zexer, Flexadex, and Plaxo (why do they all have the letter x?).

Either way, take care of your mailing address now, so that the holidays are just a smidge more relaxing.

How do you store your important addresses?

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  1. jodi @ bpr

    we keep ours in a ‘Personal Contact’ folder in outlook, so it keeps them separate from all our business addresses. Makes it easy to do a mail merge and print labels every year for Christmas, or in smaller batches for other invitations/thank yous. Great idea to start reviewing the list now, though! Thanks!

    jodi @ bpr’s last blog post…What makes exercise work for you?

  2. Andrea_R

    Even simpler – I have an Open Office document already formatted for printing on address labels. When I go in and change things, I save it as a new copy with this year’s date in the title.
    This also gives me a record of who I sent cards to each year.
    (If I never hear back from someone after a few years, I drop them off my list.)

  3. Avlor

    I keep mine in my gmail with a tag denoting who I sent christmas cards to last year and one for who sent them to me. Easy to export and put into mail merge for labels.

    Now to just get the address for my cousin in Norway. (I so want to go there someday!)

    Avlor’s last blog post…Photos: The Black Hills with a dusting of snow

  4. anna

    Wow, you are way ahead of the game for Christmas! I really need to follow your lead and get started.

    anna’s last blog post…Super Freebie Friday~10/17/08

  5. Chelsey @ Brown Eyed Basics

    Wow, there are some great ideas here! This is the first year I’m considering sending something out, as my boyfriend recently moved to my town and is away from all his friends back home. We’re thinking of taking a picture and putting it on the top of a page and just printing a short letter to mail to all of our friends. These ideas will be really helpful as I start putting together a list of who we’re going to mail the letters to!

    Chelsey @ Brown Eyed Basics’s last blog post…The Great October Blog Purge (Part 3)

  6. Vintage Mommy

    True confession time: I’ve had this project sitting in a basket since last December! Funnily enough, I pulled it out today to find an address so now I’m doubly inspired to get it done!

    I’ve found that collecting all the addresses is the hardest part of getting the card out the door . . . designing it is a piece of cake.

    Thanks for the positive reinforcement!

    Vintage Mommy’s last blog post…Our Adoption Story, Part 2

  7. melanie

    great reminder! i keep my addresses in a sturdy address book, crossing and updating as i go. last year i went as far as pre-addressing and writing the majority of my christmas cards before halloween, since i was expecting child #2 around december 1st! it was so satisfying to have all the cards ready to mail out at the time when i would normally be struggling to complete a just few. i will attempt the same feat this year also!

    melanie’s last blog post…montreal-eh

  8. Julia

    Can you set your FileMaker database up such that you can print addresses for families and the individuals within that family? For example, on one day I might like to print an envelope for a neighbor (Mrs. John Smith), and on another I might like to print an envelope for the entire family (The Smith Family, or Mr. and Mrs. John Smith), but the only way to get Apple’s Address Book to do that seems to be to enter the address multiple times–once for each case (please tell me if I’m wrong about this).

  9. Sarah Mae

    In my address book. 🙂

    I don’t want to think about this yet! Although we do get our Christmas pics taken soon!

    Sarah Mae’s last blog post…We had our ultra-sound today and…

  10. Mama Bear

    I am no longer doing Christmas cards. For the cost, the negative impact on the environment (such a waste!) and the time it takes, it isn’t worth it when you know the receiver is just going to throw the card away after Christmas.

    I love your little badges! Do you make them yourself?

    Mama Bear’s last blog post…Cinnamon Raisin Bread – In the Bread Machine!

  11. Hannah

    I have an Excel spreadsheet used for our wedding guest list and I update them when I find out of changes.

  12. Amy Lemaniak

    I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep our addresses. I like how easy it is to then do a mail merge for my labels each year and just update the addresses that have changed or add people onto the list (or even take a few off!). I was using Outlook for a while to maintain them, but just found that keeping them in Excel was just as easy to do.

    Amy Lemaniak’s last blog post…My Little Pumpkin

  13. One Minute Blogger

    We send an electronic holiday letter – saves trees and postage! It’s an email with our newsletter attached as a pdf. I keep a master contact list in gmail.

  14. Carmen

    I’m a tad old fashioned and have an Address Book that I maintain. My tip is though, is every year when we are sent a card from someone not on our list, that card gets put in with our Christmas decorations at the end of the season. That way, when we start decorating the next year, we are sure to add that person onto our new list. We also keep the envelope so that we have their mailing address.

    Carmen’s last blog post…Making my list, and checking it twice!

  15. christina

    thanks for the reminder on this one.
    I know the addresses are getting more consolidated these days but it is a good idea for me to actually check the address book and compile a list I can work from.

    christina’s last blog post…dear baby brother

  16. Renee

    We have two basic adress systems. The first is the address box. And index card box with alphabet tab cards. Then it’s easy to edit or make changes to someones card without mucking up an address book. In this box is the “master list”. The people on this list (compiled from our wedding list and added to and subtracted from over the years) get Holiday cards and birth announcements and the like. I keep the master on excel and print a new one every year or so. It makes it easy to sit and the dinner table and address boxes of holiday cards. Plus I know who I sent cards to in previous years.
    I also have a little black book of vendors, restaurants, contractors. I collect their business card and simply glue it in it’s alphabetized place. Works for us!

  17. Alecia

    I use Excel spreadsheets (for everything…) I have a master address list that I make sure to update whenever I receive changes. I also have a separate Christmas cards spreadsheet. I’ve had it for a few years now and have separate tabs for each year. It allows me to see who I sent cards to in previous years. (I’m a data freak.) Each year I copy the master address list into a new Christmas cards tab. I then edit and choose who I’ll be sending cards to that year. Like others, I can then export the spreadsheet and make labels in Word. Plus, it’s easy to print out if I need something tangible to carry around at times.

    In addition to those spreadsheets, I also have ones for Christmas gift lists (tabbed by year), birthdays, holiday traditions, etc. Like I said, I’m a freak for my spreadsheets. My husband makes fun of me, but I find it’s the only way to keep me, and all my ideas, organized.

    I just discovered your site a few days ago and love it. Thanks for all the helpful tips. I’m already working on my Home Notebook (using all my spreadsheets, of course.)

  18. DearSportsMom

    I’ve stored all my contacts in my Palm program for years. I created a category for Christmas, so I can quickly select the people we want to have on our list each year. Then my husband creates the labels. It’s a good time to clean up my list overall too. I lost my grandfather earlier this year…I really don’t like deleting people from my list. It makes something that is very emotional feel so cold and organizational. But it’s a great reminder of why it’s so important to keep in touch with people who are important to us.

    DearSportsMom’s last blog post…The Best Birthday Gifts

  19. Karen

    Well, right now they’re in my Palm program which is backed up on my computer. I print the list once a year.

    Karen’s last blog post…Goats and more goats…

  20. robyn

    perfect timing! we’re in the midst of getting our wedding address list together, and i’m storing all the addresses both in a more “typical” address book that i keep on my shelf, but also in Google Docs as a spreadsheet. As I get addresses from people we’re writing them down, so this year we’ve got no excuse for not sending out holiday cards.

    and once the wedding is done? instant address book! we’ve got it ready to go for printing labels for all holidays and events int he future, and my address book is filled out and ready to go for sending out birthday cards and little love notes.

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