It’s the most wonderful time of the year — to send holiday cards!
I love the tradition of sending holiday cards and look forward to getting them from our family and friends. We have a cabinet in our kitchen that transforms into the card display as we tape them up one-by-one as they are received. It’s pretty special seeing all the happy faces of our friends and family hanging with us in the kitchen as we go through the holidays.
As much as I like getting holiday cards, I also love doing something unique with ours that we send every year. I know so many people dread the time it takes to do them, and I used to as well. Even as a professional designer, I would start to become a Scrooge about half way through hand addressing envelopes on our list of roughly 100 cards. After 4 nights of addressing in a row, my hand would be cramped and I’d be ready to exchange my pen for a wine glass and say, “f*ck it!”
Rather than letting the frustration get to me,
I decided to get smart and streamline my holiday card process
So, for the love of Holiday Cards, I’m sharing my 5 tips with you in hopes that it saves you time and makes this tradition more fun for you, too!
5 Tips to Streamline Holiday Cards
1. Manage Your Address List in a Spreadsheet
Use Excel or Google sheets to keep your addresses list current and organized. We use a google sheet so my husband and I can both edit addresses when our friends/family move. If I am waiting for a new address to come I make the name a lighter grey color and delete the old address so I am sure not to use it.
2. Write Farthest Addresses First, Or Print Them All
Rather than organizing our address list by alphabetical name, I organize ours by distance. This way we can start with hand writing the addresses farthest away to send first.
If you’re ordering cards and can select the option to print the envelopes with addresses, do it! That will save a ton of time. I generally do this for ours but since I’m using black envelopes and start early, I will be writing in white ink with my “send by distance” method.
3. Check Off the Names as You Address Envelopes & Mail
I insert 2 columns at the beginning of the address list spreadsheet on the left side. Use column 1 to place a X mark when you have addressed their envelope. Use the second column to check your work and mark each with another X before it goes in the mail.
This helps make sure you don’t accidentally skip a name, write a duplicate, or write someone’s address with the wrong name. *Cue the singing: makin’ a list, checkin’ it twice…*
4. Buy Cards with a Printed Message
Whether you buy a stock greeting cards at Target or Amazon, or you plan to order semi or full custom cards online somewhere like minted.com, save yourself (and your hand) by getting cards that already have a message printed on them.
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If you’re going with a semi or full custom design, include your family’s printed name(s). If you are hiring a designer (or are one) scan your signature(s) and include those to “sign” for a more personal touch that you don’t need a lot of time to do.
5. Batch Process Tasks
I try to do this with just about any project that requires the same steps to be repeated, but it also works so well with holiday cards! When you batch process you do a single step for every card at once before moving on the next step, which speeds things up since your brain isn’t changing gears.
I start with addressing envelopes, and then batch insert cards into the envelopes. Then batch seal the envelopes, and finally batch stamp them. It’s definitely faster if your partner takes on one of the processes to batch, but even if it’s just you this will still help speed things up!