Simplifying Christmas Cards

I wanted to share some tips about simplifying Christmas cards.  We send about 140 Christmas cards every year.  This was by FAR my simplest year yet in terms of processing the cards so I wanted to share these tips even though it's probably too late for many of you.

1.  The Picture

Although we typically have our family pictures taken in June, this year I unintentionally let it slip until the end of September.  As a result, we had a great family pictures which were only 2 months old when we put it on our Christmas picture. I also like to have my kids wearing cool/cold weather clothing in Christmas pictures. Just a personal preference... don't judge.

Needless to say, we'll now do all of our family pictures in the fall. Bonus, it's not generally 90 degrees so my hair is less likely to return to its naturally frizzball state.

2.  Addressing

I made the switch to printed labels a few years ago when our list topped about 85 cards.  This seemed like a real cop out, but I could not address all of those cards and keep my sanity (and job and family).  So, I did a mail merge and then use the same list every year.  I try to remember to update those who have moved, divorced, etc. throughout the year on my list when I update them in my regular contacts, but I always miss a bunch so I do a clean read of the full list before I print the labels.  I use clear Avery labels.  By keeping the list current, I have a good idea of how many cards I need to order when the time comes. Always order a few extras... see below.

3.  Stamping, Sealing, Mailing

Here's where you pull in the whole family!  Handy Hubby band kids did 90% of the labeling, return address stamping (we have one from Tiny Prints), and postage stamping.  To seal the cards, we use a glue stick.  So much easier than licking (and less scary - Seinfeld fans, anyone?) and much less messy than any water sealing device I have used.  The glue is more effective too since I find that many envelopes have inferior glue.

I like the bigger glue sticks for this project. Available here.
4. Unexpected Cards (Fun!)

Every year we receive some cards that we didn't expect.  Generally from new friends, coworkers, neighbors, or old friends with whom we have recently reconnected.  These are some of the most fun for me - yes, I am a freak.  This year, I had my card assembly workers, stamp and seal the extra cards (we generally order 15 extra beyond the existing list).  This way, when we get a new card, I hand address their card and then add them to our printed mailing list for next year.

So that's how I have made the whole card process easier on myself.  I no longer dread doing the cards and my kids have fun helping.  Who cares if a stamp is upside down?  Not the mail carriers certainly!

And in case you want to see what my Christmas card display looks like as of this morning...

I think I need another one of these.  How cute is my friend Stacey's dog (top left)?  This is from Willow House.

I'll try to swing back before Christmas to show you my living room mantle.  Exciting!

Merry Christmas!


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  2. I love your pictures, Melissa! I just did a collage of family photos from the summer at the Jersey Shore. I thought it was a nice tribute to the beach since Hurricane Sandy destroyed so much of it. I haven't tried the glue sticks yet but I will next year. I use a little sponge topped bottle but the water drips sometimes. I don't think I have licked many envelopes since the Seinfeld days! (HUGE fan by the way - in fact check out todays's blog post from www.decorharmony.com if you want a good Seinfeld laugh!). Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!
    Cheers! - Shelley

  3. this is very similar to my process! i switched to photo cards and labels about 8 years ago when i injured my hand and physically couldn't sign cards any longer (or write addresses).

    I keep a word doc in label format, and as soon as the new year rolls around i change the date in the name to the new year, then update as i know of people moving. At minimum, i replace their old address with "moved" in red, so it's easy to see when i scan the list.

    stuffing, stamping (return address) & applying stamps is pretty quick, and now i'm going to put my kid's glue sticks to work! the taste was HORRIBLE this year on my envelopes, but they were extremely sticky and didn't require that i press them at all (costco!).

    and this year, i went super low key with the pics for the card. just some snapshots of us getting our tree and then decorating it. WAY less stressful than trying to get someone lined up to come take famly pics.

    btw, i also get giddy when unexpected cards arrive!

  4. i forgot to say, this process is for 165 cards this year. and i was pleased to see i'm not the only one sending out over a 100 cards per year, as most people i know just send a handful (if any).

    1. Me too! So glad to hear I am not the only nutty one out there. At least there are bulk-purchasing discounts!! I just used my last card and ordered a few more for late-comers. Thankfully there's a good sale on Shutterfly right now!! Happy New Year!


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