When it comes to sending Christmas cards, what is the best Christmas card etiquette? Sending Christmas greetings to everyone on your Christmas card list is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
It’s fun to send and receive holiday greetings and tell everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! If you’re looking for some tips on how to add your personal touch to your own Christmas card, you’re in the right place!
it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and here are some great tips on how to spread that holiday cheer!
This post is brought to you in partnerships with Orajel. All opinions are my own.
Every year I hear the same excuses as to why people don’t mail Christmas cards to their family and friends via USPS snail mail. People often say things like:
“Christmas cards are so much work!”
“It’s just another thing to do during the busy Christmas season.”
“Honestly, sometimes I just forget to do them until after Christmas is over, and then don’t send them because I’m embarrassed to send them so late.”
“People just throw out the cards anyway, so why bother?”
“They are too expensive! There’s the cost of a photographer and/or a studio, buying coordinating outfits for everyone, getting nails and hair done for the pictures, designing the cards, printing the cards, buying envelopes, and paying for the stamps!”
“Digital cards work just as well, and isn’t this why we have Facebook? Everyone already knows what we’ve been up to all year and seen recent pictures of our kids.”
“Christmas cards are a pain to write and put together and to make sure everyone’s address is up to date.”
Honestly, these anti-Christmas Card Senders aren’t wrong. Christmas cards can take up a lot of time and energy, be immediately thrown out once received, and cost a lot of money when all is said and done.
But, these same people will often say that they love receiving Christmas cards, especially picture cards! Some will decorate their home with the cards they receive, scrapbook them, or turn them into a little keepsake book to look at each year. Plus, despite having Facebook and Instagram, they often appreciate the personal and more thorough update on family and friends they don’t see often.
Christmas cards is mail they actually look forward to opening and receiving. Some even enjoy the non-photo Christmas cards because they can repurpose Christmas cards into gift tags or other crafts.
We began sending out Christmas cards after we had our twins a few years ago. It was difficult to organize all the addresses, find a cost effective way to get the pictures taken and cards and stamps ordered, especially because we were on a very tight budget. But, even with very little money to spend, we wanted to send out Christmas cards.
Why Send Christmas Cards?
There are six main reasons we send out Christmas cards every year:
1.) We live far away from most of our family and friends and want a fun, beautiful photo Christmas card, scripture, and update letter to send to people in the mail. Despite our efforts to keep in touch, we don’t share everything about our lives on social media or through email or our blog.
We feel Christmas cards are a better way to give a real update to all family and friends who may have missed some details, or not had a full understanding at what was going via our social media shares.
2.) Plus, family photo Christmas cards are such a popular and trendy thing to do! We have fun taking the pictures, putting together the card, and writing the letter.
We love having our own cards that we can stick a personal note in! It’s a great way to stay in touch with our family members and show them that we’re thinking about this during this time of year. There’s just something about getting a physical card that is a holiday tradition that I love!
3.) We love receiving them, so why not send our own as well so we can bring that joy to others?
We’ve found the more we send out, the more we seem to receive in return (perhaps because they have our address!). We proudly hang up and display every Christmas card we receive in our home, a tradition I keep from parents.
After the holidays are through, we clip out the family photos from the cards and display them in a wire photo hanging picture frame I made all year. We also save the previous years’, writing the dates on them, so we have these family keepsakes. It’s a bit of family and personal history!
This is a good way to create festive greetings that you can keep and display next year. It’s the best time to do this together and share a little love.
4.) Having an excuse to get dressed up and take fabulous pictures of myself and my family, every year, is a huge benefit of doing Christmas cards!
I love beautiful pictures of my family that I get to keep forever! We want to show our family and friends how much our kids have grown and how much we’ve changed. We also are terrible about printing out pictures and hanging them on our wall. The Christmas card we put together is a small printed keepsake of our family. Another great chink in our family history.
This is a nice way for us to take our own photos I love sharing with my family and close friends. Plus, one of my Christmas wishes is always to have new family pictures so using them for the Christmas cards gives us plenty of time to make it happen.
I use these tips for good family photos and the last few years we’ve had amazing family photos!
5.) Many of our older relatives are not on Facebook, Instagram, or even do email very well. They only receive updates that they hear through the grapevine or through our yearly Christmas card pictures and letters. Our grandparents have expressed how much they appreciate our cards and the update (and have even said they wished more of their grandchildren did this!).
Since not everyone has social media, sending greeting cards in the mail is great. That way, they don’t feel like they’re missing out by not seeing a social media post. I just make sure that I plan ahead to have enough time to get it all done and sent.
You can also look at sending digital Christmas cards as well. A digital card is still a great idea and almost everyone has an email to receive electronic cards!
6.) But, the biggest reason we send out Christmas cards, despite the cost, is because it lets various people know how much they really mean to us.
Sending a Christmas Card lets people know we thought about them enough to hunt down their address and spend the $1 or so on sending them a Christmas card in the mail. There’s nothing “mass” about a hand-addressed card, that we spend money on sending to their physical (not virtual) mailbox. We are letting people know that they mean at least that much to us.
How to Afford Christmas Cards
Like millions of others we found cheaper ways of sending Christmas cards. In the past we got pictures taken from department stores photography studios or through photography deals we found online, took advantage of Christmas card promotions like ordering cards on Cyber Monday, and limited the number of cards we purchased.
We also designed the cards ourselves and printed them at a club warehouse or large retailer with photo studios in order to save money on Christmas cards too.
Of course, you could even print your cards/photos yourself at home, especially if you use the HP Instant Ink program which will save you a fortune on the ink to do so!
Christmas cards don’t have to be super complicated or expensive. The matching clothes for the family pictures are often the biggest financial hurdle! If you are willing to forgo being ultra coordinating in your family pictures, you can mail 50 Christmas cards, with stamps, envelopes, and photography fees for less than $100, easily. You can likely do 50 photo cards for about $60 total.
This year, in order to save money, and because our photographer from last year couldn’t do it, we decided to DIY our family pictures! We grabbed our camera, a tripod, and set up the self-timer, and managed to snap out this picture:We’ve also swapped picture taking with friends before too.
Another option is to only send cards to people who don’t live near you, or to hand deliver cards (and save the stamp) to people you see in person regularly.
How to Make Sure Your Christmas Cards are Great
Taking your own pictures, having a friend take them, or going to a cheap indoor studio can sometimes mean subpar family portraits (though not always!) to include on your photo Christmas cards. It can’t always be helped due to your finances preventing you from hiring that amazing local photographer who charges $350+ for a family photo session!
So, one of the best things you can do to insure your Christmas cards are great is making everyone brush their teeth before the pictures and practice various tips for getting children to smile for the camera.
Before our latest family photo session, the kids had a little snack (fed kids are happy kids), got dressed, and brushed their teeth with some Orajel toothpaste and toothbrushes really well. You may want to have them brush before getting dressed though in case any toothpaste or water gets on their clothes though. Visit Orajel.com to learn more about the best products to use to ensure your children have a healthy smile for your family’s Christmas cards this year.
Tell me – Do you send Christmas cards in the mail every year? Why or why not?
Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
I love sending Christmas cards! I actually wasn’t going to because we didn’t do family pictures this year, but then I realized that I could just take a picture of the kids and put it on the front! I love getting and sending Christmas cards, so I loved this post!
Kathryn H. says
Katelyn, I completely agree with your points. I send Christmas cards every year, and it’s the primary way I make sure to stay in touch with everyone who matters to me at least once a year. Receiving cards in the mail means more to me than my friends probably guess. Just a quick note about their families or lives is special to me, with or without a photo! (I send greeting-card-type Christmas cards.) You are right that photos do not need to be complicated or expensive. The whole time I was growing up, my parents took our family portraits with a tripod and a timer just like your picture. Also, if it’s too overwhelming to send cards every year, families might consider doing it every other year or not sending to everyone in the same year. I think the most important thing is to stay in touch with the people we love. You never know what’s going on in people’s lives at that moment when they find out you are thinking of them and care about them. Think of sending Christmas cards as an act of charity to bring happiness and grace into the lives of the people you love, instead of as a competition for the best photo or the most on-time mailing. No comparisons are necessary! Those things don’t matter. It’s the love that matters!
I love sending cards. My husband and I don’t sent personal pictures but I love choosing cards for friends and family. It is one Christmas “chore” I enjoy doing. I buy cards on sale (you can even get nice ones in packs of 10 at DT) I start addressing mine on Thanksgiving night or the next day. They’re all done and in the mail. I have about a dozen that I write personal letters for – not the generic success letters families send out, but personal letters to the family I’m mailing each one to. Some people don’t email or fb, nor use social media. That’s a fact! Older people love getting snail mail.
Sarah @ 2paws Designs says
I love sending & receiving cards (especially photo cards) each Christmas. I have stacks we’ve received in past years that I can’t bear to part with. I love looking at the photos and seeing how the kids & families have grown. Plus, who doesn’t love getting real mail? Great tips! Feeding the kids a snack beforehand is a really good one.
VICKI YOUNG says
Thank you for this article and the comments, I am a paper-crafter & have my own business. For years, I have made custom greeting cards for all seasons and all reasons. I enjoy seeing the smiles of my clients when they pick up their order or the expressions of customers at a show. Everything is had made by sweet little ‘ol me! So, I thank you (and the US Postal Service thanks you too!)
I agree whole heartedly. In fact I do exactly the same thing. It’s fun and can’t wait to see cards I receive.
Most of my friends list all the excuses that you mentioned. I live far away from friends and family. At Christmas time I love getting a card in the mail! I make a display on ribbons near my pantry and it makes me full of Christmas joy! It is a effort but truely the only time I hear from many special people. The cards bring much more than the actual cost. It’s a tradition.
Stacey Holderer says
Yes, I do send Christmas cards every year. It is expensive, but one of the most important aspects of Christmas is tradition. It is a tradition to send Christmas cards, dating as far back as 1843. I remember receiving Christmas cards with my own name on them as a child and being so excited to see the beautiful card inside.
I do wonder if cards are received with the same excitement or anticipation today, but I like to hold onto what little traditions we still have in our high tech society. I mail all of my cards, despite the cost, because it seems more personal to send the card in the mail. I thought about putting them in the mailboxes of my work colleagues, but that just doesn’t seem the same. (It would save quite a bit of money, so I am torn.)
I am glad that you brought this up, and I am interested to hear your opinion, and that of others on the mailing or not mailing of cards to my colleagues.
Thank you for what you do.
Katelyn Fagan says
So, we don’t usually mail them to people we see all the time. This year since we ordered more than we usually mail out, we’ll be hand-delivering many to people from church, school, and so on. I hope it doesn’t come across as less awesome, but the stamps are one of the most expensive parts of the cards, and if we see them anyway, it seems fine to just hand them one. This year they’ll be lucky enough to get one at all since we have so many.