Whether you are sending holiday cards for the first time or you are a seasoned veteran, there are bound to be some “best-practice” questions you have along the way. In an attempt to help your 2021 card-send run as smooth as possible, we have pieced together this Christmas Card Etiquette Guide that answers all the most commonly asked questions surrounding holiday card planning, composing and sending. To achieve a completely organized holiday season this year, we encourage you to also print out our detailed checklist on Christmas planning.
Merry Boughs by Coco and Ellie
It is the best Christmas card etiquette to have all your cards placed in the mail by the first week of December (or earlier). This will ensure that your recipients have at least two weeks to display their cards and appreciate them as they await the arrival of Christmas Day. Getting your cards out early also allows you the peace of mind to just sit back, relax and enjoy reading all the cards that arrive in your own mailbox, rather than still focusing on sending yours out.
modern note by Creo Study
As a general answer, plan to get your cards in the mail no later than December 12 if you are selecting basic ground delivery. If you select Priority Mail or Rush Delivery, you should be able to get your envelopes in the mail by December 20 and expect them to arrive by Christmas. If you feel you have missed the mailing window, you can always opt for a New Year’s card instead as a way of still maintaining holiday card etiquette. Depending on which mailing service you select, USPS, FedEx and UPS all have their own unique worst-case-scenario dates for getting your holiday cards in the mail on time. This year Minted offers a variety of last-minute shipping options. Be sure to read through our accurate breakdown of Christmas delivery deadlines.
Most people send between 50 and 100 cards, but it varies greatly from person to person. There are many things to consider, such as how many people are in your household, how many immediate family members you and your partner have, and what profession you are in. Because every household will have a different requirement of cards they wish to order, Minted allows customers to order as few as 25 and as many as 5000!
Snow Fun by Elly
With all of life's normal distractions, it can be easy to fall out of touch with friends. The annual holiday greeting card is a great way to keep friends up to date on all that is new in your life. Brighten a friend or family member’s day with a thoughtful correspondence this December. After more than a year of limited face-to-face communication, staying connected through hand-mailed correspondence elevates this custom beyond mere holiday card etiquette.
Standard ground shipping to a domestic address typically takes 6 to 9 business days. Of course, there are also other shipping options you could order such as Express, Two-Day, and Next-Day. International shipping on average will take between 7 and 21 business days. Keep in mind that the holiday season is when postage companies see their highest demand, so hitting the expected delivery date isn’t always an exact science. You should add on a day or two just to be safe.
These last few points have been dancing around the same issue: holiday card etiquette. Knowing the ins and outs of polite behavior is not quite the lost art some believe it to be! Here is your Minted primer on maintaining politeness while sending holiday greetings:
There are several scenarios to keep in mind when addressing your Christmas cards.
Yes! This allows the recipient to return a holiday greeting card to you in case they didn’t have your address on file. The return address also acts as a sneak preview as to the contents of the envelope, building excitement.
If you are sending a holiday card in an envelope, a 1oz. First Class mailed letter is the standard postage limit. You can also use a Forever Stamp. Each additional ounce costs more, but at a reduced rate. If you are sending an envelope-free postcard, then postage will be even less. For a more in-depth and updated summary of pricing, weight, size and shape requirements, reference the USPS guidelines.
Casual designed by Everett Paper Goods
We have a full detailed post on who to send Christmas cards to, but here is a quick summary:
There are plenty of approaches to composing your season’s greetings. If opting for a short hand-written message for each recipient, review our post on 95 Christmas greeting messages for favorable verbiage. For those looking to type out a year-in-review summary to include in their holiday mailer, possible subjects to feature include:
Proper Christmas card etiquette says you should. Add a personal touch to each card by inking your own signature. If sending a greeting to a close family member or friend, try and get every member of your family to sign their name in their own handwriting. Your recipients will feel that much more touched by the correspondence and associate it as coming from your whole family. Consider encouraging your children to add a little holiday-themed doodle to their name as well!
Snowy Flake designed by Kaydi Bishop
While it’s important to sign your cards by hand, the way you craft that sign-off can make a big difference in how your recipients read the entire message. Here are a few suggestions for signing in a way that aligns with general holiday card etiquette:
If you are signing a card for the whole family, do not use an apostrophe in your last name. For example, your signature should read “The Johnsons” not “The Johnson’s”. In the rare instances where a family name ends with “ch”, “sh”, “s”, “x”, or “z”, then you should add an “es” to the end of the family name. For example, “The Davises.”
When stuffing your holiday envelope, the front of your Christmas card should face the side of the envelope that has the seal or opening. This way, when your recipient opens your envelope, the card-front will be naturally facing them. If sending a fold-over card, be sure to place the fold of the card at the bottom of the envelope. This will ensure the card’s orientation will open like a book when the envelope seal is broken. This same etiquette can be applied to birthday cards, birth announcements and the like.
Boxed designed by peony papeterie
Along with how long to leave up Christmas decorations, this question generates some passionate differences of opinion. Some say all holiday decor should come down on New Year’s Day. Others adhere to the age-old tradition of observing Twelfth Night as the end of the Christmas season on January 6, on the eve of the Catholic Feast of the Epiphany. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw lots of people leaving their cards and lights on display into the spring. We don’t judge! The bottom line is that there is no hard and fast holiday card etiquette rule about how long to display your seasonal greetings. If you enjoy seeing them on the mantle right up until Easter, go for it! If you prefer a clean sweep in the New Year, by all means take your 2022 cards down in January -- just be sure to record the names and addresses of everyone who sent you a card so that you can update your list for 2023!
Yes and no. Most recipients will want a card they can easily display on their mantle, kitchen table or refrigerator. An excessively large or small card may not end up on the mantle, thus missing out on the prolonged attention a more standard-sized card would receive. Common sizes include 4” x 6” (postcard/petite), 5” x 7” (standard), and 6” x 8” (grand). If curious about Minted’s offerings, learn more about our full list of Christmas card sizes and formats.
Did you find our Christmas Card Etiquette Guide helpful? If so, we have plenty more articles surrounding holiday planning you might find equally inciteful. Learn about unique holiday party themes, outfits to wear for your family photo shoot, and even ways to creatively display all the seasonal cards your receive.