One of my favorite parts of Christmas is exchanging Christmas cards with friends and family. We love that December is a time to get greetings and updates from friends we have lost touch with through the year. It reminds us how blessed we are to have so many great relationships from our past and in our present.
Sadly, there are some who are moving away from this tradition and turning to tools like Facebook to send Christmas greetings. The Social Media Couple has written an interesting article on some ways to do this. While I commend their ideas, I still favor the good old Christmas card. Since we don’t send letters much anymore, getting actual mail from friends in the mailbox is a rare treat.
While there is no formula for doing a “proper” Christmas card (and it IS the thought that counts), I must admit that I enjoy some more than others. In light of this, I thought I would post a list of tips that will help you to create the most effective Christmas card possible next year. I could wait until next November to post this, but it’s fresh on my mind today. So here goes...
How to Send a Good Christmas Card
1. Set Aside Lots of Money - Depending on the design and how many you are sending out, Christmas cards can be expensive. Plus, if you're trying to convince your friends that your kids are better looking than theirs are (as most of us do), then you need to include the price of a professional photo session and a custom designer. I usually figure this all out and have stayed within my budget, just barely. Then I remember that stamps cost $.44 each and I'm out another hundred bucks. (We send a lot of cards; I am very popular.)
2. Include a Picture – This tradition has become more common in the past 15 years or so. If you are a friend that lives far away and I don’t see you very often, a picture helps me feel connected with you again. I know this can be a challenge. It sure is at my house. We will often take 200 shots just to get one usable photo. Even then, we usually have to photoshop somebody's face off of a different picture. In fact, it's sort of a fun game to look at past Johnson family photos and try to guess whose face was cut and pasted from another shot.
3. Write a Family Update Letter - This became common in the 90's but seems to have become less popular in the past few years. (I suppose Facebook is keeping us connected well enough that we don't need them.) Personally, I like to read what has been going on with you. Granted, I know that I'm probably only going to hear the good stuff. You know, how your kids are excelling in school and how great your job is, and an exhaustive list of all the places you traveled throughout the year. We all do that as sort of a way to share how awesome our life is. And it may be true. But I think it would be interesting and honest if one year we all agreed to do update letters that only shared the struggles we faced that year. And the pain we endured as life is typically very hard. Perhaps we could see how God had worked out His will in us through even the crummy parts of life. Just a thought.
4. Don't Make THE Grammatical Error - When you sign your card with your last name or when you print your last name on your photo Christmas Card from WalMart, you don't need an apostrophe. The letter you get from us is from The Johnsons (correct). It is not from the Johnson's (incorrect). You know how the online photo places that do those require you to check the box that you have "proofed" your card before they accept the order? I think that there should be a part of their process that brings up a box that says: "You realize that you are making an error by including an apostrophe in your name. Are you sure you want to do that? I wouldn't if I were you."
5. Include Some Reference to Christmas - A good Christmas card will always mention Christmas, either in a simple "Merry Christmas" or perhaps with an appropriate scripture for that extra-meaningful touch. If your card says "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings," I'm likely to assume you are a pagan. Or an atheist. Or at least a scrooge. You might as well print "Bah, humbug" on your card.
Follow these simple tips and your friends and family will be raving about you single-handedly made their Christmas memorable this year. Ignore them and you run the risk of being forgettable at Christmas. And who wants that?
Can you think of some more good Christmas card tips? Comment below and I'll make sure they get posted.