Shorten Your List:
You may feel obligated to send out cards to everyone you’ve ever known, but are there people on your list who could stand to get cut? People who don’t return the card-sending favor, or people who (gasp!) may not notice if they don’t receive a card from you? Also, people you see all the time, like co-workers, might not require a card, or at least they might not require one in an addressed envelope with a stamp.
Send Picture Cards:
Many of the people you send cards to could be people who don’t see you regularly, or who would like to have a picture of you on the fridge (especially if you have children, who change so much from year to year). This is why I love the idea of sending picture cards: cards that have a photo of you and yours on the front with a holiday greeting printed right on there. This is also a great option because it not only saves you the need to buy holiday cards separate from your photo card, but there’s not a lot of room on the front, so it’s not frowned-upon or conspicuous if you don’t leave a hand-written message (other than your signature) on it. Note: if you’d like to leave a personal note, there’s plenty of room on the back; there’s just no pressure to fill up the whole interior of a card with writing.
Don’t Send A Big Newsy Letter:
Yes, many people want to know what your whole year had been like. And yes, for some people, this is the only time they hear the major details of your life. However, with the printing and folding and stuffing and the composition of the Big Newsy Letter itself, the BNL really complicates the holiday card ritual. Omit it, and you may be giving people a reason to pick up the phone, call you during the year, and stay in better touch. Or, if you eschew the thought of skipping it altogether, you may want to simplify things by sending it out separately in email form. That way, you still save yourself several steps.
Print Your Address Labels:
While we’re on the topic of using your computer, you can save a lot of writing time by organizing your addresses and printing them onto labels via your computer. Some may say that a computer-generated label isn’t as personal as a hand-printed one, but with the time and energy you save on writing out each individual address and recipient, you could be writing great personal messages inside the cards! (Or, you could just relax and drink egg nog.)
Start Early and Do a Few at a Time:
If you start somewhat early and do a few each day or several each weekend, you could get them all sent on time without stressing too much about the task. Writing cards in small doses makes it much easier to include a personal note that doesn’t look too scrawled or sound too trite, and with each session remaining relatively painless, you might actually look forward to writing to old friends, keeping in touch, and wishing them well. And that’s what it’s really about, is it not?