This year is your year to wow everyone with your amazingly stylish and graceful holiday cards. Haven’t started yet? No problem. Just keep reading...
DO create an action plan: Or simply follow ours.
Week of November 13th:
- Start compiling addresses in a spreadsheet for easy label making. Decide how many cards you want to send this year.
- If you are sending photo cards, make Saturday the 18th a fun, family day and bring your digital camera. Think scenic…think colorful…find your happy place! Tips: to get ready for Saturday, test your digital camera + memory card by Thursday. Also, select and lay out clothing on Friday so you can get a stress free start Saturday.
- “Go” Shopping! Forego long lines and busy roads & get everything you need on-line.
- Holiday cards: Shop now & get great prices at on-line stationery boutiques.
- Clear labels for envelopes, available at any office supply store.
- Holiday stamps (USPS.com ) or turn your fave photo into postage (PhotoStamps.com )
- Process & print your digital photos on-line.
- Enjoy the rest of the week – it’s Thanksgiving (November 23rd).
- Finish organizing your addresses.
- Print labels.
- You have time this year. Personalize your cards with a short but sweet, handwritten message and/or signature. Write 5-10 cards a day to keep writers cramp at bay. Pressed for time? Designate someone to handwrite your cards for you. (Shhh…we won’t tell!)
- Assemble cards + envelopes
- MAIL your cards
- December 4th: Last day to send to Africa, Central and South America (USPS guideline)
- December 11th: Last day to send to most international locations (USPS guideline)
- December 16th: First Day of Hanukkah
- December 18th: Peak holiday mail day – relish in your preparedness
- December 19th: Last day to send Domestic mail for Christmas Day arrival (USPS guideline)
- December 25th: Christmas Day
- December 26th: Kwanzaa
DO take advantage of timely shortcuts: Here are a few of our favorites:
• On-line shopping for everything from cards to labels to stamps to photo processing. With 24-7 access, no long lines, fantastic selections, comparison shopping, holiday deals, plus easy access to your list and other important card buying details. (See shopping list below.)
• Printed, self-adhesive labels for addressing envelopes. But beware of the cheap, gaudy label. As with most things, less is more. Choose a clear label. And use an easy-to-read, simple font. Keep the focus on what’s important – the card.
• Don’t get overwhelmed by the total number of cards you send – just focus on personalizing 5-10 cards a day. Sip some wine, watch some TV, and write your cards. In a week’s time, you’ll be in great shape to send your card
DO personalize your cards/letters with a handwritten greeting and/or darling family photo. Even if it’s only one line, and even if it’s someone else doing it, putting pen to paper has become the measure of true grace in this day and age of printers and electronic communication. Not really into photo cards but still want to show your family a little love? Consider PhotoStamps.com  – where you can turn your favorite photo into actual postage.
DO involve other family members: Make ‘Picture Day’ a fun family outing. If you are shooting your own photo, head to the park, or the lake. Just pick a place that has a gorgeous natural background. Or, if you are headed to a studio for a professional photo shoot, celebrate afterward with lunch or dinner. When it comes time to mail your cards, delegate parts of the mail preparation to able-bodied family members. It’s fun and - let’s face it - you could use the help.
DON’T shop until you know exactly what you want/need to buy: Whether you decide to save time by shopping on-line or you choose to venture out to your local boutique, arm yourself with a solid understanding of:
• How many people are on your list. And always buy a few extra…just in case.
• How much time you are able to dedicate to finishing your cards. Unless you are crafty & have lots of time, steer clear of “assembly required.”
• (If sending photo cards) What your photo looks like. Take note of the colors, the composition. Have a copy of your photo with you – even if it’s a spotty printout. You’ll want to refer to it as you select your cards.
• Do you tend to write a lot? Think about how much room you will need for your personal message. Buy accordingly so you don’t cram a year’s worth of words on a tiny card. Also, consider including a printed letter sheet along with your cards. These days, there are chic styles to choose from.
DON’T miss out on fabulous new products and trends: What’s hot this season?
• This just in…Letterpress photo cards from Snow & Graham. Letterpress is considered to be one of the finest types of printing. The process involves engraving designs onto magnesium plates, which are then coated in ink and pressed into paper. Trés luxe.
• A professionally custom-printed greeting on your holiday card is the definition of affordable luxury. Not only is it elegant, but it also saves you time (and ink) on the handwritten message.
• Nostalgia: It’s paper’s version of the skinny jean. Go Vintage or go Prep. Either way, these days, retro is totally hot.
• Modern birds. Playful, colorful and sleek, chic bird motifs add sweet charm.
• Celebrating friends and family. A timeless trend that marks the #1 reason we dedicate ourselves to producing happy holiday cards year in & year out. Enjoy!
Erin Newkirk and Renée Walter are the co-owners of RedStampCards.com . A boutique-chic stationery store that’s dedicated to helping other working moms remember & celebrate cherished birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, new babies, new homes, graduations, promotions, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Bastille Day, and (of course) the Winter Holidays. Visit www.RedStampCards.com  for more info.