Christmas Card-Sending Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and many Americans are dreaming of a "write" Christmas - writing holiday greetings to family and friends, that is.

Hallmark estimates that Americans will write (and send!) around 1.6 billion holiday cards this year. It's a tradition most of us continue to value: in fact, a 2011 Hallmark research study found that, when measured against other traditional forms of holiday well-wishing, greeting cards are more popular than phone calls, emails and ecards by a ratio of about 3:1.

Of course, with today's busy schedules, even cherished traditions need to be as easy as possible. Here are some tips from the experts at Hallmark to help you make your card-sending easier and more meaningful:

  • Holiday cards are available in most stores as early as October. Get a jump on the season by choosing cards early and writing a few each day in October and November.
  • Make card-sending a family activity. Have each child sign his/her own name or decorate the backs of the envelopes with ink-stamping or stickers. Older children can help with addressing, signing and placing stamps on the cards. Or, include a color copy of a child's artwork or insert a favorite family recipe card. There are many ways to add more of your family to your well-wishes.
  • If your list includes a range of people - everyone from close family to business colleagues - choose a variety of sentiments. Boxed cards with simple messages work well for many, but individual cards will be appreciated by others. For service providers, like a pediatrician or mailman, consider adding a little gift or attaching the card to a special treat.
  • It's not a season of merriment for some, but it is still about hope. Sending a card of support specifically chosen for someone who is going through a hard time can be especially appreciated. You might also consider following up with a phone call, another card or two, or even a commitment to get together or do something helpful.
  • Let help. You can order your cards online - personalize them with photos and your own messages, if you like - and even have Hallmark address and mail them for you. If you'd rather hand-write a note, Hallmark will ship them to your home for your personal touch.
  • Running out of time? Don't worry. Most people are happy to hear from you no matter when your greetings arrive. Or you can skip the Christmas cards in favor of New Year's cards.

Eitquette Tips

For family and friends:

  • Personalize your cards with a little note, and always sign the card - even if your name is printed.
  • Keep your signature informal - no courtesy titles, and to close friends and relatives, no last names either.
  • If a card is from more than one person, the person who signs it should write his or her name last as a gesture of courtesy.
  • When sending a card to a couple with two different last names, address the card to "Mary Smith and John Jones." If there are children, write "Mary Smith, John Jones and Family."
  • When addressing cards to family and social friends, include the children's names.

For business/work relationships:

  • Mail cards for business associates to the office. If you are social friends, however, or have met the person's spouse or significant other, send cards to the home.
  • Business greeting cards should be more tailored and formal than cards for family and social friends. Messages are brief and usually secular.
  • When sending to a co-worker in your own office, send the card to the home and address it to "Mr. and Mrs." if the recipient is married.
  • When sending to a married woman who uses her maiden name at work, address the cards to "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." If she prefers to use her maiden name for all occasions, work and social, address the card to "Mr. John Smith and Ms. Susan Jones."
  • Sign only your name to a card for a business associate, unless your spouse has met the recipient.
  • If your family creates a holiday newsletter, do not send it to co-workers unless you have a very close personal relationship with them.

Special situations:

  • When sending a card to someone of a different tradition or ethnic background, choose a card with a secular design and sentiment, such as "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings," or those with general good wishes or wishes for peace. As an alternative, send a Thanksgiving or New Year's card instead. Hallmark offers many options for these holidays as well.
  • Take special care following a death in a family. Cards are available with messages of sympathy at Christmastime. If the card is to a widow, address her as "Mrs. John Jones."
    How to properly place a card in the envelope:
  • Insert the folded side into the envelope with the design face up toward the flap.
    Mailing notes:
  • Save yourself holiday hassles by mailing early - any time after Thanksgiving and before New Year's Day is appropriate.
  • Mail cards first class so they will be forwarded or returned to you if the address cannot be located.
  • Include your return address to comply with the U.S. Postal Service's request and to help your friends keep their mailing lists up to date.

Fun Fact

The Hall Brothers "invented" modern gift wrap during Christmas 1917 when they ran out of solid-colored tissue paper and started selling decorated envelope linings.