Holiday Card Etiquette

Santa Clause addressing a red envelope on a wooden table with Christmas accents.

Selecting Your Holiday Cards

Holiday cards are a great way to strengthen existing business partnerships and encourage new ones. They can help you stay connected with friends and family too. Whether for business or pleasure, here are some points of holiday card etiquette to be considered before this year’s cards go in the mail.

  1. Consider the recipient. With so many attractive holiday cards to choose from, what should you look for when selecting the perfect card to send? You first need to consider the recipients. A card that says, “Merry Christmas” may not be appropriate for businesses, as not everyone on your list may celebrate this religious holiday. A “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” sentiment may be better the choice so as not to offend anyone.
  2. Choose quality cards. The cards you send are an extension of your business and professional image. Very nice looking card designs with matching envelopes on a top quality card stock are available at affordable prices. Personalization and custom imprinted verses add a touch of elegance as well. If unsure, work with a vendor who will furnish a sample so that you can confirm the quality before you make your purchase. From a high-end card design that is embossed and stamped in foil to value cards that are thoughtfully designed and personalized, choose the best option for you and your budget.
  3. Personalize.  A personalized holiday greeting shows class. Printed in ink or foil, many card designs can include your company logo or feature die-cut windows through which your imprinted company name can be seen. You might also want your actual signatures printed as well.
  4. Customize your message. Put thought into your sentiment or verse. At you have the ability to print whatever you want, so make the most of this feature by targeting your message to your recipients.
  5. Show off. Holiday cards are displayed throughout the season in people’s homes and office buildings. Front imprint cards will easily show off your company name. Even better, calendar cards are displayed the whole year!

Take advantage of this marketing opportunity – send stylish and professional greetings during the holiday season and throughout the year. With minimal expense and effort, you can grow your business relationships and increase your bottom line!

Addressing Your Holiday Cards

Now that you’ve selected the perfect holiday cards to send to your valued customers, business associates, friends, and family, you will want to make sure to personalize, sign, and address them properly.

  1. How to sign a holiday card. Your professionally-printed and personalized holiday greeting cards offer stylish ways to connect with your recipients this season. Although your company name is printed in ink or foil, it is always a good idea to add your own personal signature. An even more personal touch is to add a quick handwritten note. You may only reach out to some of your recipients once a year, so just a bit of extra effort will go a long way towards making them feel special.
  2. Hand address. A hand addressed envelope stands apart from the usual junk mail. Many will open this envelope first. The recipient will appreciate the extra time and effort it took to hand address their card. There is no need for one person’s handwriting on all of them so use several helpers if you need to. Just make sure their handwriting is acceptable! If budget allows, a hired calligrapher really adds a touch of elegance to your holiday mailing.
  3. Accurate mailing list. Make certain your mailing list has the names spelled correctly. Avoid adding the person’s title as this may have changed and is not really necessary. Do spell out the company name and street address and use the more formal name such as Mr. Robert Hall, Jr. instead of Bob Hall.
  4. Return address. Go ahead and order your envelopes with your return address already printed on the back flap. This will ensure that un-deliverable cards find their way back to you so that you can update your mailing list. Pre-printed envelopes also save you time and look more professional.
  5. Quick-stick envelopes. You may also want to purchase quick-stick envelopes. Quick-stick envelopes are a time saver, offer a more professional presentation, and you won’t need to use a sponge and water (which can get messy), or worse yet your tongue to seal the envelopes.
  6. Use postage stamps. Although metered mail is easy, use postage stamps for your holiday cards. Select holiday stamps that suit your company’s image.

Holiday cards are warmly appreciated and let your recipients know they are valued. Displayed throughout the season, your thoughtfulness is sure to be returned.

For Your Family

I admit, I sincerely enjoyed receiving Christmas cards each year as I was growing up, especially ones with some happy holiday pics of the family or friends. I knew Santa was coming soon by the sudden influx of colorful holiday cards brought by the mailman. I fondly remembered my mother allowing me to go ahead and open the cards that included the words “and family” or “and girls” (I had a sister) or “Dear Occupant” as part of the address. And, of course, I also got to open those that actually included my very own name too. An even bigger thrill was receiving a card addressed just to me!

So remember the entire family when addressing those envelopes, and these pointers:

If you know the individuals by name on an informal basis…

Go ahead and list them all. For example:

Bob and Mary Jones
Bobby, Barbara, and Ben

The more formal treatment would be:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones
and family

For something in between you could use:

Mr. and Mrs. Bob Jones
and children

Grammar Tips

Another source of mystery to me was wondering why my last name seemed to change from card to card. My maiden name was Cress, and I remember receiving holiday cards addressed to The Cresses, The Cress’s, The Cress Family, and so on. We even got them addressed to The Crest Family, but that is an entirely different story.

  • If the family name ends in O or Y, add an S — The Romanos, The Sandys
  • If the family name ends in S, X, Z, CH or ES, add an ES—The Joneses, The Foxes, The Cortezes, The Bunches, The Marshes
  • If in doubt, just add the word “Family” as in—The Jones Family
  • The use of an apostrophe indicates possession or ownership, like The Jones’s House, so this doesn’t really apply to holiday cards. Of course, if you are sending holiday party invitations, you may want to indicate that the party is at the Jones’s House.

Party, did someone mention a party?! Count me “and Family” in!

Ordering & Sending 

Knowing when to send holiday cards is important. You don’t want them to arrive too early, but you certainly don’t want them to arrive too late.

You will want to order your holiday cards at least a week before Thanksgiving. I would suggest two to three weeks before in case you run into any problems. If there is a mistake, you may need to have your cards reprinted, and there’s always a chance your holiday cards can get lost in transit and will need to be reshipped.  You’ll also save money by ordering them early, avoiding rush shipping costs.

After your cards arrive and you have them just the way you want them, send them out two to three weeks before the celebrated holiday. If I’m sending Christmas cards, I always like to err on the side of caution and drop them in the mail around December 4th.

What to Say in a Holiday Card

Finding the perfect message to include in your holiday cards can be tricky. Don’t worry. We have another great article with suggested holiday verses for all your recipients. When you are trying to figure out just what to write in a holiday card, click here to see what the experts have to say.