Christmas Card Best and Worst Practices
Normally every year I send out between 75 and 100 Christmas cards to my nearest and dearest. I usually get them out within a week of Thanksgiving, which is nice because it also helps get me the get best “return rate”. This year I’m not much in the holiday spirit and haven’t gotten around to sending any Christmas cards at all except for one that I sent to my best friend. I know I should probably get my act together and at least send them out to my family members, but at this point I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. Plus it has helped me perform a social experiment that I was pretty confident I knew the answer to already, however this has really solidified my hypothesis. Instead of sending cards this year, I’m going to give an awesome post on the best and worst practices of the holiday card card distribution:
- Animal Cards: Who wouldn’t want to see your puppy dressed up like a reindeer this year?! I love when people send pics of their pets dressed up for Christmas, whether they are dressed in some snazzy Christmas doggie jammies or have a set of antlers on. I’m a huge animal lover, and quite personally, I’d rather see that than ANOTHER pic of your kids. I think I’ve seen enough pics of your kids all year long on Facebook. Am I right? One of my absolute faves that I’ve ever gotten is from one of my life-long friends – she’s got this adorable chihuahua that has one stiff ear and one floppy ear. In real life the dog hates my guts, so I absolutely look forward to and cherish this pic every year!
- Hand Written Cards: Any joe-shmo off the street can get 100 cards printed out with your family’s names typed out and slap some stamps on the envelope and stick it in the mail, but it takes a really thoughtful person to actually write a personal note and address the cards by hand. I mean seriously, how special do you feel when you get a card that just has “Merry Christmas! Love, The Smiths” typed on it. It took absolutely no thought at all and basically just shows that they felt obligated to send a card, but have nothing meaningful to say in it. What’s wrong with a hand written “I miss you! Hope you have a happy holiday season” or AT LEAST signing your own name!? These cards are harder to come by, but I really do appreciate and save them!
- Early Bird Cards: If I receive a card from you before December 15th I feel thought of and feel like I was actually really on the “Christmas Card List”, not like I was an “add-on” after you got my card and I received a card solely because you had a few extra once you were done with all “the important people” because you had a few extra cards laying around. The worst is when it comes in an envelope that clearly doesn’t belong with the card. It just screams “sorry – this is all I have left….merry x-mas!” <– I also hate when people use the abbreviation “x-mas”…for the love of God, remember what the word means!!
- Snail Mail Cards: Not to say that someone thinking about you and giving you a card regardless of the method of delivery isn’t ok, but there’s just something about receiving an article of mail that doesn’t end in “minimum amount due by December 31”. Of course personally delivered mail either in my mail box or on my desk at work is nice, and absolutely appreciated, but don’t cheap out. Spend the 45 cents and stick that puppy in the mail! Unless you want to attach it to a gift…then hand delivering it is completely acceptable…hint hint 😉
- Family Newsletter: No offense, but I don’t really care that little Johnny is in first grade and excelled at his first spelling bee, or that you vacationed in Punta Cana over the Spring. I’m not trying to be an asshole, but these “newsletters” are nothing more than a family brag letter. How about we spread some cheer here and wish others well? Isn’t that what the season is all about, after all?
- 100% typed out Cards: This is basically the opposite of what I was talking about above. A completely typed out card shows me absolutely no effort whatsoever. Don’t even bother sending it to me unless you at least write out your own name. The ones that have the printed envelopes are even worse…I could be wrong here, but to me that shows that the Christmas card didn’t even come from your home, it came directly from Snapfish, CVS, Mixbook, Walgreens or whatever other company you purchased the cards from. There is absolutely no personalization on these cards except for my address. At the end of the day, they are good wall-fillers for the Christmas season, but get tossed first thing on January 1.
- Late Cards: Get it together – either send cards out, or don’t. If you don’t send cards that’s fine, I wont judge you, but if you only send me a card at the very end because you received my card and feel obligated, don’t bother. Trust me, I won’t be offended if I’m not on your “Christmas Card List”. I sent you a card because I really wanted you to receive it, not because it’s a competition and I wanted you to send one to me.
- E-Cards: Don’t get me wrong, I love to “elf myself” just as much as the next gal, but to send me an “e-card” as an actual Christmas Card is border-line pathetic. A card should be something meaningful and nice that I has something heartfelt written inside.
So if you were wondering how I really feel about Christmas cards, there it is. I wonder how many people feel the same way or how others feel about Christmas cards in general. Do you think quality or quantity is more important when sending and receiving Christmas cards? Do you send them yourself and if you do, do spend the time to personalize them?