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Christmas Card Etiquette

Christmas Card EtiquetteMany of us still partake in the yearly ritual of sending Christmas cards to those people who are on our Christmas card list. It is a way of remembering those people in our lives that we will not be personally visiting over the holiday season, to let them know that they are still in our thoughts. In some cases, it may be the only contact that we make with them during the entire year.

The Christmas Card List

Your Christmas card list is the key to a successful Christmas card program. This will spare you the embarrassment of forgetting a child’s name, a recent marital separation or a recent change in address. It is also your record of sent and received cards, which may help you to decide if anyone should be struck from your mailing list.

If you do not have a Christmas card list in place, I suggest that this can be quite easily begun. A simple note book or address book will suffice for this purpose. For each entry, you may like to include:

** Name, including the names of any children. You may be able to get away with saying “and family”, with the hope that a returned card will provide you with the additional names.
** Address, kept updated.
** Religious inclination. Here, I just write ‘Christian Religion’, ‘Not religious’, or ‘Other religion’, so as to know what type of card to send.
** Note here marital or family changes.
** A record of cards sent and received. It is as simple as writing 2010-S (for sent) and 2010-R (for received). Five years without a return card or phonecall and I strike them from the list, unless I know of a particular reason why they can’t return a card.

Buying Cards

In most cases you will find that you will need to buy two or three types of cards, in order to accommodate the different religious views of those to whom you wish to send a card.

** Christian Religion – Those with a biblical message;
** Not Religious – General ‘Merry Christmas’ cards; and
** Other Religion – Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays.
If you are not a Christian yourself, you may wish to opt for just the last two types.

If possible, try to buy your Christmas cards from Charitable organizations. This way, your gift of a card is rewarding to two different people.

Be Prepared Early

It is not good form to wait until the last moment to send your cards, as you don’t give the recipient the time to reciprocate the courtesy. I personally send my cards on the first week in December.


At the very least, the envelopes of your Christmas cards should always be handwritten. This is not the time for your computer to automate the process and print out mailing labels. The only exception here is that the return address may be applied using printed labels.

Every card should also bear your handwritten signature. Some families get Christmas cards printed, and this is acceptable, but the name should still be handwritten.

The Envelope

The envelope should include the handwritten mailing address, and a pre-printed or handwritten return address. The return address should not be overlooked, as the recipient may not have your current address easily available, if available at all. The envelope should also be sealed, to ensure that both card and envelope make it to their destination.

Under no circumstances should glitter or confetti be placed in the envelope. It is often an unwelcome and messy surprise.


Postage fees are constantly changing and different sized cards can incur various postage costs, so be sure to visit the post office before the final sending of the cards.

Most countries release an issue of stamps especially for Christmas, which are a preferable addition to the envelope, than the printed tickets that many post offices use. Be sure to ask.

What special touch do you add to your Christmas Cards?

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