I am, at heart, something of a traditionalist. My mom sends beautiful Christmas cards every year, and I always loved looking through the cards we received from friends and family. I always knew that when I grew up, I'd send out holiday cards of my own.
However, as I hope you know from reading this blog, I am all about decreasing stress, clutter, and pressure to conform. And wow, holiday cards can create some serious pressure! My mom would fret about The Christmas Card Photo starting in January, and would either dress my sister and me up in matching velvet dresses in the backyard or corner us on a family vacation for a photo shoot, both of which we detested! And today, the family-industrial complex (with an assist from Pinterest) might have you thinking that every family undertakes an expensive formal photo shoot with carefully coordinated outfits and props for their picture-perfect holiday cards. I've heard more than one person say that they just don't do holiday cards because it's too difficult, or they feel like their cards wouldn't be worth it.
I'll be the last person to judge if you don't want to send holiday cards. It’s not for everyone! But if you're interested, here's how I organize the process for minimum stress and maximum payoff.
1) I keep a master address list in my Google Drive folder. It started with our wedding guest list and has grown from there as our family and friend circles expand. The second a piece of mail with address info hits my mailbox, I can make a quick edit then and there, so that I don't have to spend a ton of time searching down addresses at the end of the year.
2) I don't try to take a specific Christmas Card Photo. Every year I use a candid photo of the two of us, ideally looking relatively silly, plus one of the dog for the back side of the card. The general theme of our cards is always levity!
3) I start early. I pick our photos and card design a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, and press the order button when a nice coupon hits my inbox!
4) I use a comprehensive soup-to-nuts online card store to save time, effort, and my own sanity. I’ve used Apple and Tiny Prints in the past, but my current favorite is Minted: they have the best and most customizable designs (because I like to have a little fun with the text), and you can order absolutely everything including stamps directly from them.
For me, holiday cards aren't something I’m obligated to do, they're about staying connected. Our family and friends know that my husband and I are fun and just slightly irreverant, and our holiday cards are, too. Stay tuned for a peek at this year's!