It's mid-December already, and I'm getting holiday cards from friends and family but I haven't even thought about our card yet! Should I just forget it and start planning for next year's card?
As if real life around holiday times weren't chaotic enough, holiday cards add a whole new layer of stress. And unlike many other holiday tasks that you can put off for a little while (who hasnt had to make a last minute trip to the store for a few extra stocking stuffers?) getting your holiday cards together means getting organized early so you're not sending them out around a completely different holiday, say Valentine's Day. If you are one of the many overwhelmed moms out there who haven't even thought about your card yet, don't abandon hope of getting one out, it's not too late!
Holiday cards are the perfect instance of always feeling pressure to keep up with the Joness. Unfortunately, that only leads to a sense of disappointment. Its best to go into making and sending your holiday cards knowing that things are never going to be perfect. There's no 'perfect' card or 'perfect' list or 'perfect' timing, especially this time of year. As it turns out, by doing the best you can, with the time and resources you've got, you usually end up with something that better defines you and your family than anything you spent hours and hours on. And isn't that what a holiday card is all about?
In addition, considering all the variables simultaneously is enough to stop anyone in their tracks. Instead, try breaking up the process into mini-projects that can be done in smaller blocks of time, approximately 10-20 minutes. For example, pick a photo from last summer's collection during your lunch break. After dinner, select a card design and order online. Once you have the cards, address fifteen a day until you're done.
So when you do have a second to think about things, break it all down into three steps.
1. The Card. Fortunately, for those of us who are design-challenged, most of the online photo-sharing websites offer a wide variety of holiday card designs. You can quickly and easily import any of your photos on to a holiday-themed card, place your order, and in less than a week, youve got your cards, complete with envelopes. It's usually fairly inexpensive, and it saves you a tremendous amount of hassle. Some sites to check out include Snapfish.com, Kodakgallery.com, tinyprints.com, and Shutterfly.com.
2. The List. It can be tempting to make your list of recipients extremely long. (Think back to your wedding guest list.) Try to focus on the people on your list that are most important to you - not just merely acquaintances. You want to go to people you care about, not your mom's friend from work who you met once 15 years ago, although I'm sure she's a lovely person.
3. The Timing. Of course, when it comes to sending out your holiday cards, the sooner the better. But, let's remember, its not a race. Just because you may start getting holiday cards in November, doesn't mean you have to force yourself to get your cards out right now as well. If you have time to do it before the New Year, that's great. If not, you can send out New Year's cards, when people may actually have time to sit down and appreciate your mail.
For more thoughts on the matter, read "Shortcut Holiday Card Hell. "