The tradition of sending Christmas cards has fallen out of favour in recent years. With the environmental impact and the hikes in stamp prices, many people now choose to make a charity donation instead. Even if you do still send cards, writing them becomes a bore after a while, your hand aches, your writing gets scruffy and it becomes just another chore to be crossed off the long December ‘to do’ list. Plus we’re all so connected these days that Christmas cards aren’t the catch up with far flung friends and family that they once used to be.
So, you start out with the best intentions including newsy neatly hand written letters to friends, whose surnames fall early enough in the alphabet. By the ‘G’ surnames your enthusiasm wanes, no more letters just hastily scribbled cards. Further on in the alphabet, you give up writing people’s names at the top of the card and just sign your name illegibly. Towards the end of the alphabet, you will probably run out of cards or stamps and give up altogether.
As I have a surname early on in the alphabet, I am lucky enough to receive hand written cards and notes but I bet people surnames after ‘M’ get less cards or ones written with less care. So how can we improve on this?
Getting set up
The first step is to cut down on the number of cards you send. Is it really necessary to send cards to work colleagues, neighbours and friends that you see on a regular basis? Can you agree to make a donation to charity instead? An easy way to edit your list is to stop sending cards to people you no longer hear from. You could also use this year’s Christmas card to tell some people you won’t be sending cards next year. This might include people who you only had a brief connection with and haven’t seen for many years.
The next thing to consider is whether or not you want to create a round-robin letter. A round-robin is a letter sent to multiple recipients with their Christmas cards. The letter updates them on the year’s key events for you and your family. If you are going to send one, try to keep it brief and adopt a self-depreciating humorous tone. It can be tiresome to receive endless rose tinted letters about high-achieving children or grandchildren, work triumphs and expensive holidays.
If you haven’t already created Christmas card address labels using a program like Word on your computer, this is well worth the time. You can then print off your labels each Christmas. Remember to update changes of addresses or name changes as soon as you receive them. The other joy of labels is that you can see exactly how many cards and stamps you need to buy. Whilst you’re at the Post Office, don’t forget to pick up the leaflet about last posting dates if you are sending mail abroad.
For me, buying or making cards I love, and having Christmas themed stamps helps me enjoy the card writing process. If you have lots of cards to write, it’s really worth considering having them pre-printed with your names at the bottom. Although less personal, it can save so much time. Some printers will even give you the option to upload your own signatures and many now use recycled paper to be more environmentally friendly.
So now you’re ready to get started. If you have a big list of cards to write, consider dividing the task with other family members and asking each person to write a set amount. If it’s just you, it’s probably worth splitting the task over a few evenings to that you don’t start to hate it.
So how can you make Christmas card writing fun?
Here are a few ideas:
- Change into comfortable clothes, pyjamas or lounge wear
- Set a clear time limit, an hour usually works well
- Write in a well-lit space in a comfy chair
- Put on some Christmas music and light a scented candle
- Make yourself a hot chocolate with all the trimmings or something stronger
- Use a pen you love. Consider a fountain pen with some coloured ink but do use a blotter if you do this
- Consider spritzing your cards with scent to create a multi-sensory experience
I have created a printable to help you plan your Christmas card writing, put together a great round-robin and make the whole process fun. You can download this below:
If you’d like to see more of my printables, you can find me on Etsy. My shop is called ‘my year by design’ typed without any spaces.