When I moved from Virginia to Maryland, I began sending out Christmas cards each year. Mail can be such a day-brightener when it isn't bills or spam!
Each year since, I've noticed something interesting. I get the same feedback each year from at least one (different) person:
"Thanks for the card! I wish I had the time to send out cards. Maybe next year."
I'm certainly not offended at not receiving cards from everyone, but I am concerned at the idea that cards take a long time to send. I personally spend more time selecting Christmas cards than I do sending them. I set up a process the first year (that granted, is an time investment that pays off in future years) that has made sending cards each year after a breeze!
My secret? I have a hard time calling it a secret, but still, people are surprised:
It really is that easy. If you can carve out some extra time one year to plop all your contacts into an Excel spreadsheet, mail merge does all the work for you in the years after. Just follow these steps, and you'll have cards ready to be send in no time:
- Gather your contacts. I create a document in excel with the names and addresses of everyone I want to send cards to (make sure you set up fields; I use last name, first name, address, and city/state/zip, so that it can read properly in mail merge). The first time you do this, it will take some time, but in future years, this becomes a super short step of "scan your list of contacts for anyone who's moved, married, etc., and update their information"
- Choose your cards. This is my favorite step and for me, often the longest. There are so many choices! I have done photo cards, but most years, I choose a variety of pretty boxed cards (like the pictured mini assortment I picked up at the Hallmark Store this year). Since you have all your contacts in the Excel file, you can easily see how many you need! I always allow for a few extras for any forgotten recipients or cards returned-to-sender (I catch most people who move, but always seem to miss at least one!)
- Sign your cards. I usually keep this simple with a quick "Dear mom and dad," at the beginning then a "love, Sean and Bekah" at the end.
- Make your labels. This is the real time saver. I buy some blank mailing labels and do a mail merge into Word with the excel file (the software walks you through this, and I have a tutorial video below!). This sets up all your names and addresses in a format that you can print right on to the labels. I jazz it up with a pretty (but readable) font, and hit print! All those addresses that would have taken you a full morning to write on to envelopes will now take minutes. As a bonus, if you have your own return address stamp or labels, you've just cut down even more time!
- Seal, stamp, and send. You're done! Seal those cards, put a stamp on each, and they're ready to send!
How easy was that? With all the time you've saved, you can get a head start on wrapping those gifts (good news: Hallmark Gold Crown has adorable gift wrap, too! When I was buying the cards, gift wrap rolls were buy one, get one for $1!)
To help get you started, I'm giving away a $10 Hallmark Gold Crown gift card to select your own Holiday goods. Enter below!