Stress-free Christmas card planning

Christmas cards are a brilliant way to keep in touch with friends and family – I love receiving them, especially if the sender has written a personal message or suggested a date for a meet-up!

But organising Christmas cards is a hefty task and I know for many it can be overwhelming (and perhaps even dreaded?). 

It’s often the festive job that’s put off for as long as possible. And I think that can be the root of the problem – it’s not the task itself that’s hard, it’s the getting started. 

If you can find the time to begin early, it’s possible to get Christmas card-related tasks done in manageable, short chunks of time instead of it having to be a rushed, marathon effort.

Plan your Christmas cards now

So I suggest that September (yes, really!) is the ideal time to start work on your Christmas cards. 

By giving yourself so much more time, there’s an increased chance you’ll actually enjoy the process!

Timing how long it takes you to plan and write your Christmas cards can be a useful exercise – in future years, you’ll know exactly how much time you’ll need!

In an ideal world I aim to finish writing my Christmas cards by the end of October. It sometimes slips into November, but that’s okay – they’re still ready to go well before the start of the Christmas rush.

I post my cards (second class – it saves so much money!) on 1 December – I can then cross this task off my to-do list, and my friends and family have plenty of time to enjoy my festive missive.

Here are more tips to help make your Christmas card preparation more fun and stress-free:

Make a master Christmas card list

Go through your address books and create a list of the family, friends and colleagues you want to send cards to.  

Add up the number of cards you need, then add a few more in case you make a mistake or need to send one or two extra unexpected cards.

Next, spend some time checking you have up-to-date information for everyone, for example their current postal address and new partners’ and babies’ names.

This is a fiddly job, but it will make your life so much easier when the time comes to actually write your cards.

I highly recommend creating your list in a spreadsheet so it’s easy to update year after year – and you can use it to print out address labels, saving you hours of time and effort.

Once you’ve created your master list, you can update it throughout the year, adding new contacts and updating addresses as you go.

Don’t forget your Christmas budget

Bear in mind how much money you have to spend on Christmas cards and stamps and modify your list accordingly.

It’s not necessary to send a card to everyone you have ever met, and if you’re not in touch with people anymore then it’s okay to remove them.

Have a hunt around for leftover Christmas cards and stamps from previous years. There’s no need to spend time and money buying new ones if you already have plenty in stock!

You can also save money by hand-delivering rather than posting, so if you know you’ll see people in person write cards for them first so you have them to hand.

Next, buy the cards. Christmas cards are available online at this time of year – and you can help raise money for good causes if you order from charity Christmas catalogues.

If you need to buy stamps, it’s a nice touch to use Royal Mail’s Christmas designs – in 2021 they go on sale on 2 November.

I recommend popping to the post office as soon as you can after this date to avoid the Christmas queues later in the year.

Write Christmas cards little and often

If you start early enough it’s possible to get the job done by writing a few Christmas cards a day.

Doing it this way means you don’t have to find a large chunk of time to write scores of cards in one go, and it’s less likely to feel like an onerous chore that makes your hand ache from writing so much!

When planning your time, bear in mind that there might be some cards you want to make really special for parents and grandparents, for example, by sending a handmade card, a family update for friends who live further afield, or a photo or two.

Make sure you have some extra time available to put thought into these special cards so you enjoy doing it – and your recipients will love receiving them and treasure them as much as a gift.

I hope these tips help make writing your Christmas cards a more enjoyable experience and ensure they reach their intended recipients in good time.

Let me know if you have any other advice you’d like to share with the Christmas Organised community! 

Alex x


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