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7 Things You Should Know About Christmas Card Etiquette

shop holiday cards photo Christmas card for family with red and black back of card designs and envelope liners on snow

Sending Christmas cards is a loved and anticipated holiday tradition that began all the way back in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole and John Horsley of the UK designed the very first Christmas card. Since that time, millions of Christmas cards have been given and received in a gesture of goodwill and friendship.

An act as simple as sending a Christmas card may seem fairly straightforward, but there are rules that everyone should follow. Following proper etiquette will ensure that holiday cards are received in the same spirit with which they were sent. Here are seven things you should know about Christmas card etiquette before sending out your cards this year.

1. Send Christmas Cards Out Early

grey square Christmas card with bracket trim, green trees, snowflakes and ornaments

When it comes to sending your Christmas cards, early is always better than late. Here are a few tips for sending you cards out on time:

  • Your cards should reach their recipients approximately mid-December.
  • Try to send your cards out before the second week in December.
  • Remember that the post office can become backlogged during this time of year, so plan accordingly.
  • You'll want to get your family pictures ready no later than mid-November to give you time to find the perfect card.

If you live in an area with frequent bad weather during the winter months, plan for a week-long delay and send your cards out earlier than you would otherwise.

2. Avoid Digital Cards

E-cards are definitely convenient and can save you a lot of time during the busiest months of the year. However, they also take very little effort on your part and can leave the recipient feeling disappointed. Take the time to order a tangible, real card that they can hold in their hands and display on their fireplace mantel.

You can easily order Christmas cards online in advance and have them delivered right to your door. Here at Tiny Prints, we have a wide variety of card styles and colors to choose from. You can even add a more personalized touch to your Christmas cards with a family photograph.

3. Send Seasons Greetings When in Doubt

If you are sending Christmas cards to someone who does not celebrate Christmas, it is proper etiquette to choose cards that say "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas". If you are unsure, err on the side of caution and send out more generic cards.

Red and black Merry Christmas card for the holidays with a Christmas tree liner and cute return address label

Those who do celebrate Christmas often prefer to have "Merry Christmas" printed on their cards, so you may want to order two different card styles this year: one style for those who celebrate Christmas and one style for those who may not.

4. Always Include Your Return Address

black, white and gold address labels with geometric print

Never send out a Christmas card unless you have your name and return address listed on the upper-left side of the envelope. This will not only allow the recipient to instantly see who the card is from, but it will also give them the option of sending a thank you card or a Christmas card of their own back to you.

Having your return address on the envelopes will also make it possible for the postman to return any cards that are unable to be delivered to the recipients.

5. Don't Send Family Photos to Business Associates

colorful merry christmas cards with pink, blue, red, green and white letters and wreath

While friends and family love to receive personalized photographs every year, it is not proper etiquette to send them to business associates. Instead, choose one of our more professional holiday card designs to send to the business addresses of your professional contacts.

6. Make Sure To Hand-Write A Small Note

Whether it's just your name or an extra greeting, never send a card without giving it your own, unique signature and customized note. Writing a small personalized note shows the recipient that you really care.

7. Keep Your Message Brief

Most people prefer to receive brief messages on their holiday cards. This is actually advantageous to you because it means you can spend a little less time writing on each card. If you do want to send a detailed holiday newsletter along with your card, Tiny Prints offers free back of card designs. That way you won't suffer from writer's cramp and the recipient can read about your family updates at their leisure.

Keep these seven etiquette tips in mind when preparing your Christmas cards this year, and you won't need to worry about accidentally committing any holiday card faux pas.

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