Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Season's Greetings!

I love sending snail mail.  In fact, the only thing I love more than sending it is receiving it.  As you can imagine, the Advent and Christmas seasons are ones of great joy for me as I trek to the post office (or send David in my stead) with arms full of Christmas cards and packages for our loved ones.  Lucia and I walk to the mailbox at least once a day to pick up our treasures from family and friends across the country. 

I know that Christmas cards are a cause of stress for many people - just one more thing to do amongst the hustle bustle of the holiday season.  And I'm here to tell you that even though I love sending Christmas cards and I love receiving them, they are a source of stress for me as well.  

This year, we've stripped down our Advent.  Aside from taking out Lucia's Christmas-themed books and stuffed animals, we haven't done a thing to decorate for Christmas.  We have a make-shift Advent wreath of appropriately colored candles in clear glass votive holder (that have been lit a total of 3 times this season) and a Advent countdown paper chain (that we just took a week's worth of links off).  We've been listening to Advent music (I'm loving Haley's Advent playlists) and I've been burning holiday-scented candles (my favorites are the Fresh Balsam and Spiced Apple Toddy) and we've gotten close to two dozen Christmas picture books from the library (I'll be sharing some of our favorites soon) and I've been love, love, loving this season.  I'm sure some people would be horrified by my lack of go-all-outness this holiday season, and I'm sure not every year will be like this, but the bare-bones simplicity of this Advent is exactly what we've needed.  

Despite throwing most of the "quintessential Christmas activities" out the window, I have not tossed out the Christmas cards.  All the other Christmas trappings that we have forgone can be distractions from the meaning of the season, but Christmas cards epitomize one of the things that I cherish about this season: connections with the people who are important to me. I have, however, found some ways to make them a little less stressful this year.  Instead of having to worry about handwriting cards, printing a picture to enclose, and writing a family newsletter (or not writing a family newsletter and feeling bad because I've always wanted to send one and never had), I ordered photo cards from Minted with "Yearline", a photo version of a family newsletter:

As much as I love to be able to write a personal message in each card, sometimes the choice is between sending out cards or wanting to write a personal message and not getting them out at all.  So this year, I focused on just getting the cards out.  I ordered a gorgeous, religious design I loved.  (It's actually quite hard to find religious photo cards, but Minted had a great variety of them.)  I personalized it with the 2013 "story of our family", I got them in the mail, folded them, stuffed them in the envelopes, licked & sealed, stamped our return address and the postal stamp on it, and sent it off.  Did you notice I missed a step?  The addressing part?  I uploaded a spreadsheet of addresses and Minted printed them on the envelope for me.  It was truly as painless as Christmas cards get.  I have had to address some envelopes because I did not have updated addresses for many of our recipients when I ordered my cards, but with more than half of them already printed out, it was no biggie to address the others one by one as I got the addresses.

Do you send out Christmas cards?  Do you run to the mailbox to check for them each day in December?  What are your quick and easy Christmas card tips? 

I received my Christmas cards free of cost to facilitate this post.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Opinions are 100% my own.  See disclosure policy.


  1. This is our 5th married Christmas and the first that Christmas cards have been seriously minimized (I think you can guess the reason). For me, it was just too disappointing to realize that the idea I'd been brewing for our card was not going to be and a 5th year in a row with just our two names was too much. In the past I have designed our cards in October and have them all addressed to be dropped in the mail the day before we travel for Thanksgiving. I'm well-known for my cards and being the first in everyone's mailbox. So my husband gently encouraged me to still send cards, if I was up to it. He thought I would end up regretting it. I won't, but I did pick up a box of regular cards and decided to send them out reciprocally--one in, one out--instead of my usual philosophy of sending one to everyone who matters to us.

    And that's it this year. Just a simple card with a short note or just signatures, depending on the person. No photo. Just being sent this week. It's what I can handle this year. And I know that I won't regret it because I will always remember why it was this way this year and I will know that I was true to myself.

  2. We are doing Christmas cards for the first time even though we have been married for almost 5 yrs. I also noticed the difficulty in finding religious cards. I found one at Snapfish that we liked. I was really really tempted by Minted - had I known about the addressing for sending part...

  3. Personally, I love the process of sending out Christmas cards. I love picking out a design and a picture, getting the list put together, stuffing the envelopes, etc. In college, I was the one to push my parents to start sending out cards again, and now I'm continuing that with my own family. And, I do get just as excited getting other's cards in the mail. I know this part of Christmas isn't for everyone, but I find it so fun :)

  4. I love the personalized photo cards I have received. I need to bet braver and do those. I am self conscious. Your daughter is adorable. I sent mine out last week,

  5. What an adorable picture of your sweet girl on your Christmas card!! Love the scripture on there, too.


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