The first holiday card was the original Christmas card, designed in 1843 in Britain. Since that day, millions of people have continued the tradition of sending cards during the holidays. The purpose of sending the card is to stay in contact with friends and loved ones, whether they are near or live far away. The card giving tradition has expanded to the corporate world, as well as to giving them to those that routinely provide service (such as a hairdresser) throughout the year.
As lifestyles of simplicity have become increasingly more hectic, the value of sending the annual card has increased. Studies show that most people would prefer to eliminate another item from the list of holiday options, rather than not take the time to send cards. In America, for example, over 2 billion holiday cards are purchased and exchanged during the holiday season.
Below are some tips that will assist you in the process of writing the cards. The tips are intended to be a guideline and are by no means conclusive. For those of you that are new to the tradition of the holiday card exchange, these tips will help you to avoid some common mistakes.
Purchase your holiday cards early. Cards are available at online stationery at our store by mid July. Early purchases allow you to select items of choice, without concern that they will be out of stock. Our website has articles that will assist you in making the proper choices for corporate giving, giving to those with different traditions and backgrounds, and choosing personal cards to send.
Addressing the envelopes
Addressing envelopes using proper etiquette can be a challenge. When sending cards to a couple with the same last name, be sure to write the male name first. (Henry and Jane Smith) If you are sending a card to a couple different last names, you should put the put both names on the card. (Henry Smith and Jane Brown)
Be sure to include your return address in the upper left corner of the envelope. It will allow the recipient to return a card to you (they may have misplaced your address).
Writing notes inside the Card
Proper etiquette suggests that you not make apologies for the busyness that has hindered more frequent contact.
Include a personal note, three or four sentences in length, with each card. The recipient will be pleased if you ask about the family or their job. Create a short sentence that will update them on your life. (Our family is well. The children continue to do well in school, John continues in his practice, and I am again coordinating the United Way campaign.)
Signing the Card
If you are sending the card to close friends and family members, do not sign your last name. It is proper to sign a last name when sending the card to service providers and business associates.
When sending a card from two adults, write the name of the male first and then the female.
If you have children in the home, proper etiquette is to sign all names to the card. If there is a father in the home, his name should be listed first. Next (or first) should be your name, followed by the names of the children. Children’s names should be written in the order of oldest to youngest. Do not include names of adult children who no longer live with you.