Before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us. Soon, we’ll be making our lists and checking them twice, hitting the mall for stocking stuffers and getting ready for the latest Christmas party. I love this time of year, but it never feels like there’s enough time to get everything done and enjoy it at the same time.
So, when it comes to sending holiday cards to family and friends, the temptation is strong to skip it.
But then I think about all my college friends I haven’t seen in years and about older relatives who can’t visit as much as they used to. They deserve something way more personal than an email — or worse, a text — and no technology has managed to outdo the power of a good old-fashioned holiday card to show you care.
Luckily, modern technology can help streamline the process of getting all those holiday cards made, stamped and in the mailbox in time to arrive before the New Year. Here are my favorite tricks to save time on custom holiday cards.
ILLUSTRATION: The Ellaphant in the Room
Eliminate Decision Fatigue
If you’re indecisive about which picture to choose for your photo holiday cards, choose a card that has a collage-style layout. The more boxes there are for photos, the easier it will be for you to include all the best snapshots from the year. When there’s space to include them all, you don’t have to waste time agonizing over your choices. Best of all, your family and friends will love seeing your year in review in the form of a casual photo essay.
Skip the Handwritten Note
It’s okay not to write a personal note on each card — you’ll drive yourself crazy, and you’ll just end up repeating yourself anyway. For the best time savings, choose personalized holiday cards or photo gifts that give you the option to customize your greeting. This will let you sound like you without being a total time suck.
Avoid the Post Office
Did you know that you can buy postage stamps online? You can avoid wasting time at the post office by ordering this year’s official holiday stamps at usps.com. This is a no-brainer; with cool stamp designs and no waiting in line, what’s not to love?
Get Sticky With It
Once your envelopes are stuffed, licked and sealed, it’s time to address them. You can save lots of time by using pre-printed address labels for your return address. Some address labels can even be customized with a photo, and using them is as easy as putting a sticker at the top of your envelope. Most digital contact lists and address books also allow you to format your mailing list to print out labels for each recipient, which is much faster than writing each address out by hand.
Set up an Assembly Line
Once you have your photo cards, envelopes, address labels and stamps ready to go, set up an assembly line on the dining room table and gather some helping hands to get the job done lickety-split. This is a great way to get kids involved in the holiday preparations, too. Assign one person to stuff and lick the envelopes, another to affix return address labels and a third one for the stamps.