Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Christmas Cards

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source: Jonathan_W

source: Jonathan_W

Today is day seven in our two-week Christmas series: Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas.

l love receiving Christmas cards in the mail, especially those with updated family pictures. We hang ours along the garland on our staircase, and it becomes just one more reminder that Christmas is about people not stuff!

Whether you hand-address or print labels for your Christmas cards, send a simple card or a holiday letter, write a personal note in each or include a picture, it’s never too early to start getting your Christmas cards ready.

Creating a Digital Address Book

If you don’t yet have a digital address book on your computer, now is a great time to create one. Rather than keeping track of dozens of pieces of paper or having to erase or white-out addresses as they change in your paper address book, you can simply update the file in one location and keep a printed copy in your home management notebook.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few templates available for Microsoft Office:

:: Microsoft Excel (older versions) or Microsoft Excel 2007

:: Microsoft OneNote

:: Microsoft Access database

Another alternative is to use a secure online address book. Tsh from Simple Mom shared these options in her recent post about gathering your addresses for Christmas cards:

:: Zexer

:: Flexadex

:: Plaxo

You should also make a list of any addresses you need — families that you know have moved during the year, new friends or acquaintances you’d like to add to your list, etc. Take the next week or so to track down those addresses so you won’t be scrambling to find them at the last minute.

Making Decisions About Your Christmas Cards

If you haven’t already, take some time to decide what type of cards you’re going to send so that you can add the cost to your budget and begin purchasing or ordering what you need:

:: Do you want to send traditional cards or photo cards?

:: Will you include a holiday letter or not?

:: Do you want to include an updated family photo or not?

Even though it will probably take you a few weeks to get your Christmas cards ready, knowing exactly what you need to do and purchase will make it easier to break the process into steps and add those steps to your Christmas calendar so that you’re not left scrambling at the beginning of December.

Other Tips for Simplifying Your Christmas Card Process

1. If you traditionally send a Christmas letter, begin drafting that now so that you have plenty of time to edit and make changes. You’ll be happier with the end result if you don’t have to rush.

2. Use your evening or weekend TV time to address and sign your cards over the next couple of weeks. Break your list down into manageable batches and do a little bit every day.

3. Be sure to keep a few extra cards ready in case you receive a card from someone who is not on your list and want to reciprocate.

Today’s task: Use the enclosed Christmas Card Worksheet to keep track of all of the information you need for your Christmas cards. Use the Christmas Address Book to write down any additional addresses that you need to add to your digital address book.

Do you typically send Christmas cards? What part of the process is most stressful for you?

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

19 Responses to “ Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Christmas Cards ”

  1. We send out Christmas cards every year. This is one task I enjoy very much. Usually, we send out picture cards but this year I plan on sending out traditional cards with a personal note on each one of them. I realize this will be time consuming, so I plan on starting sooner than usual.
    [email protected]´s last blog ..Home Command Station My ComLuv Profile


  2. I handmake my cards and just received my paper shipment in the mail. I can’t wait to get started on them this weekend while on our annual family vacation. It’s the perfect time to get them all done and even get a great photo to use in the card.
    Bekki´s last blog ..Rain Rain Go Away My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    I’ve always wanted to hand make Christmas cards, Bekki — I’d love to see yours when you’re done!


  3. the most stressful part for me used to be doing them. my husband previously was a pastor in a church that had about 300+ families and i felt that i “had” to give a card to everyone of those families plus all of our youth group kids! signing and addressing the envelopes killed me. however the last couple of years, i came to realize that it was needless and too stressful for me so i stopped! boy that felt good.

    now only close friends, family and ministry partners get cards from me. and if i receive one from someone that i did not send one to i put one in the mail! so much more relaxed!
    tzigane´s last blog ..I Want This My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    Oh, that would be stressful! I’m big on not doing something just because others expect you to, so I’m glad you were able to stop and just focus on sending cards to close friends and family!


  4. Thanks for the great idea of starting the addresses and signatures now. Once it is closer to Christmastime, I will include a personal message in each. I have a few friends who send ecards for Christmas, but I must say I love getting a card in the mail and displaying it on my piano.

    I also like to reuse the cards I recieve for the following Christmas. I use the cards (only the pretty ones, of course!) as a decoration on a wrapped gift, or to decorate a plain gift bag. Then, I recycle the remaining cards.


  5. I don’t send out Christmas cards. This year I will be as I am having a new baby just before Christmas, so I will be sending out a birth announcement around that time. I love the idea of starting to address them now, that way I can just pop the birth announcement in and send them off!! Thanks for the great idea!


  6. I’m so loving your blog!!! Thanks for the links for the address books!!
    Catie´s last blog ..Song Of The Week My ComLuv Profile


  7. The thing I like least about Christmas cards is addressing them. I now have a Word document set up for labels that contains the names and addresses of everyone on my Christmas card list (all typed in a pretty font, of course). When I start getting my cards ready for the mail, I just put the label paper in the printer, bring up my document, click on print, and all I have to do is put the labels on the envelopes. No more writer’s cramp!
    Cathy´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday– As Summer Lingers On My ComLuv Profile


  8. We send Christmas cards every other year and this year we will be sending them out. Thanks for the great ideas of how to conquer this daunting task!


  9. We have sent out cards at Christmas and we’ve also emailed everyone with our updates and pictures. And the most stressful part is getting them mailed. I can have them written and stuffed into envelopes but getting the addresses on and stamping them is what’s hard for me for some reason. For a few years I have thought I just want to send out a card during Halloween time and send a cute picture of our family in our costumes, I might just have to really do that this year :) That way I won’t have to worry about getting christmas cards out.


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    I think this is such a cute idea, Brooke! I’ve received Thanksgiving cards before too, which I thought was a good idea as well!


  10. Most stressful for me is figuring out what I want to do. Photo card or not? If not, what card? I usually wait probably too long to figure this out, so then I am rushed to sign/address etc when the time comes!


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    Oh, me too. If I don’t force myself to make a decision, that definitely becomes the thing that causes the most stress!


  11. Thanks for getting me motivated to start planning for christmas.


  12. The day after Thanksgiving I print out our mail merged labels and apply to all of the envelopes. I then write a short note, add pictures and seal. Once done, I stamp using and wait for December 1st to mail.

    Throughout the year I have a spreadsheet that I keep updated with names and addresses to ensure everything is correct.
    Nancy Thornton´s last blog ..Kodak is giving away $15.00 Gift codes! My ComLuv Profile


  13. One tip that makes my Christmas cards faster is to print my mail merged labels on clear mailing labels. My husband puts on the address label, return address label and the stamp while I write the holiday message on the card. Super fast and fun! We get about 60 cards done in an hour each year.

    I did wonder though if you have any helpful tips for writing that Christmas letter!


  14. I love sending Christmas cards with our most recent family picture. The most difficult part of the process is deciding which card I think will be the most uplifting for my receivers. I love several of the ideas about being so organized with it…
    Thank you very much for the links..I don’t have them stored this way, only on paper.


  15. hi mandi! i am a christmas card (with pictures and short updates or newsletters) junkie! i have sent them out every year that I can remember giving myself ONE “bye” year before I turned 30 that I didn’t send anything out! Some years the cards are out by Tgiving, sometimes they are New Year’s cards and one year, when I had a newborn in Dec, everyone got Valentine’s pictures and updates from us!

    My most FUN organizing tip for you and your readers is I have a Christmas card scrapbook that I aim to FINISH by January 31st each year (actually I have 3 thick ones now!!). In January, I cut out the return address labels and put them in my roladex and throw away the rest of the envelope. I put EVERY picture in the scrapbook and the cards and letters in a ‘pocket’ with the YEAR decorated on it. These albums are part of my decor on the coffee table at Christmastime each year and guests love looking through them and finding themselves year after year after year.

    I look forward to getting one from you this year!
    love, rachinee


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