8 Tips for Sending Christmas Cards

person writing a Christmas card

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

You may enjoy the holiday tradition of preparing, addressing, and mailing out Christmas cards to family and friends. After selecting the cards with just the right message you want to share, you go home, jot some heartfelt notes, address the envelopes, and pop them into the mail.

Sending Christmas and other holiday cards is a simple task, but there are some specific things you should keep in mind. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you put your best foot forward as you send a little bit of seasonal joy to everyone on your Christmas card list.

Designate Which Cards Go to Each Family

You should always set up a system that helps you to remember which of your friends actually celebrate Christmas and which ones do not. In addition, if you and your family like to produce family newsletters or photos during the holidays, keep a specific list of those who should receive these more personalized cards separate from those who should not.

You may want to opt for a more general card for business associates and others whom you do not know well. In short, try to keep your cards appropriate to your recipients.

Proper Timing

It is true that it is a great idea to get your cards in the mail as early as you’re able; however, it is best to wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday. The ideal time for your cards to arrive at their destination is around the second week of December. Try not to wait too long, keeping in mind that the post office is extremely busy during the holidays and you prefer for your cards not to arrive after Christmas Day.

Add Personal Message and Signature

Many families are able to either create their own custom cards or order them from printing companies. These are good because they offer the unique opportunity to send custom greetings that no one else will have.

If you are ordering a large number of cards, you may want to have your name printed on the card. This is a fine alternative, but if it is possible you should use your own signature or penmanship wherever possible. This might include a personal note on the inside or the addressing of the outer envelope.

Even better might be a short, handwritten personal note to each of your recipients. This gesture will show that you took the time to personally attend to and mail the cards. The people who open the cards will appreciate the warmth from the message meant specifically for them.

Include a Return Address

The return address is a very helpful piece of information on any written correspondence. When your card is received, the addressee will know right away who sent the card. The return address also ensures that they have your current and correct address for mailing out their own cards in return.

Return the Favor

Keep careful records of those with whom you are exchanging Christmas and holiday cards each year. If you have sent out a Christmas card to the Joneses for four years straight and have not received a card or greeting in return, you may want to continue sending cards, but it is perfectly acceptable for you to remove them from your card list.

Their lack of response shows that they are not interested in receiving the cards or do not participate in the exchange of greetings in that way. Or perhaps they've moved, and they aren't receiving your cards.

Email vs. Snail Mail Holiday Cards

Many people still prefer actual cards rather than e-cards because they like to display them on the mantle. However, if you're unable to get to the post office on time, feel free to email some holiday cheer.

Send Business Cards to the Office

It is considered inappropriate to send Christmas cards and greetings to a business associate’s home. Unless you know and interact with him or her socially, you should keep it professional and send your card to his or her office. This is another instance when the family photo cards and newsletters would not be appropriate to send.

Send Coworkers' Cards to Their Homes

Handing out cards in the office may be easier, but you really should mail these to coworkers' homes if you know them well enough to have their addresses. This adds a personal touch while also eliminating the possibility that someone may take offense at being left out because you don’t have a card for him or her.