Ways to Get Holiday Cards Under Control

I’m a stationery junkie — I love it! There’s something so nice about hand writing out a letter or card.  I’ll admit though — writing out holiday cards can be overwhelming. But I start months in advance to make it less daunting.

I have an ongoing document that I use to print out address labels.  I add to it throughout the year and change addresses when someone on the list moves.  I keep it in Dropbox so I can access it anywhere, anytime.  Then I start filling out the cards slowly — a little every night.  That way it’s not too much of a chore and I actually enjoy it.  Then I stuff, seal and stamp slowly too.  And here we are at the very beginning of December…and I’m done.

For some more ways to manage holiday cards and thank you cards my friends at Extra Space Storage gave me a few more ideas.

Managing Holiday Cards

by Jessica Johnson

Sending holiday cards can be one of the more onerous tasks of the end-of-year season. It doesn’t have any of the deliciousness of baking cookies or any of the anticipation of giving gifts. It’s just a lot of addressing and stamping, and you don’t even get a response at the end.

Of course it’s possible to just skip the tradition, but if that’s too extreme for you, consider changing things up to make the process easier.

Send It When It Works For You

One thing to think about is whether sending a card at another time of year might work better. Either way your recipients will receive your good wishes and the photo of your baby in a cute outfit. But sending cards at a time that suits you best guarantees those good wishes aren’t tinged with annoyance. I have friends that send a family greeting card every year for Valentines and it’s much easier for them because they can include everyone they received a card from at Christmas. Another family friend beats the rush by sending a Thanksgiving greeting card. I enjoy holiday cards from all my friends, but these two definitely stand out.

Make A Station

Organizing experts often advise having a station, or an area where you sort through mail. At my house we do the same for all holiday greeting cards we receive. I definitely recommend keeping these cards in a separate area from your general mail, both for display and reference.

Many of us like to display the pictures or cards received from friends and family so everyone can see them throughout the holiday season. Another pointer is to keep the envelopes all together in a specific place. That way all that helpful information like current addresses and who has sent you cards is easy to reference when you’re creating your greeting card list.

Use Technology To Help

Regardless of when you send, you might want to automate your address list using a spreadsheet, mail merge, or other type of digital trickery. Print addresses on mailing labels so you can just print, peel, and stick. In whatever format you’re keeping your recipient list, add columns for gift ideas, ages, and birthdays, and your list will come in handy all year long.

Simplify Your Thank You List: Do It As You Go

Once you’ve opened your gifts, you’ll be faced with yet another round of mail to write: thank you cards. Unfortunately, these ones aren’t optional. While you have no choice but to sit down and scribble them, you can try to minimize the trouble.

Instead of keeping a list as you open gifts, write the name of the giver on an envelope, then stick a Post-It note with the item received on the card itself. This makes it easy to write the required address right under each name, scrawl an appreciate sentiment for the present indicated, discard the sticky note, seal, and go.

As far as content, keep the sentiment short, sweet, and specific. You can convey a heartfelt appreciation without a lot of superlatives and exclamations. A simple one-sentence description of how the gift will come in handy or make you happy will fit the bill.

Jessica Johnson is a Marketing Director at Extra Space Storage. She is an avid goal setter, reads three books each month, and blogs about organization at Storage Blog.

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About Paula Rizzo

Paula Rizzo is an Emmy award winning television producer and founder of the productivity site ListProducer.com. She's excited about her upcoming book - "Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed."

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