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I’m making a list and checking it twice.

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It’s that time of year again! Barely two weeks ago, sleigh-bells were ringing; were you listening? In the lane, snow was glistening, and it was a beautiful sight! Because this is beautiful Colorado, of course, it was in the 70s right after that.

Still, we know that Winter is just around the corner, and for our family, that means it’s time to get the Holiday Letters done. (stock photo by lusi)

I love doing our Holiday Letters. Every year, I tweak The List. Even with some addition and subtraction, we try to keep the number hovering around an even 100. We receive about as many, and we use them in our decorations. One year, I strung the cards and photos on ribbon and they graced our banister. Another year, we affixed them to the door of our coat closet, and they brightened the whole room. I haven’t decided how to handle the wonderful onslaught of cards this year.

Every year, our Holiday Letter is a little different than the year before. Some years, I’ve written a poem, updating all our friends and relatives about the highlights of our year. Some years, it’s more of a traditional letter. (I keep everything to one page, though. Anything longer than that, and my eyes glaze over, so I can imagine what happens to our poor recipients!) This year, I’ve written our missive in Pop Quiz form.

Wait. What? Did she say written!?

Yes, the Holiday Letter is done. The photo cards were created in October and have arrived. The envelopes are addressed, and the letters are printed.  (I haven’t decided if any snowmen will be punched in the process of creating this year’s letter or not!) They are ready to stuff, seal and mail by December 1st. The year Claire was born was the only year I’ve missed my self-imposed “they have to be mailed on December 1st” deadline. I had her on the 30th, and she and I weren’t even released from the hospital until the 2nd, so getting them out on December 3rd was the best I could do.

One of my sisters times her holiday cards so that they arrive on December 1st, and even I think that’s a bit extreme (says Pot, as she’s chatting with Kettle).

Every year, we do a family photo of some sort. Before Claire was born in 2005, my husband and I would pose with our kitties, Merlin and Jasper. Yes, we were those people. In 2005, we cheated.  We had a great friend come to the hospital and take our very first family-of-three photo.  That photo, coupled with Claire’s birth stats doubled as The Birth Announcement AND our Holiday Letter, all done on the same photo card. Merlin and Jasper were bumped from the photo, but I didn’t hear them complain too loudly. This year, I was able to include three photos: a photo of Claire, a photo of my husband and I, and a photo of the three of us. Fancy!

Speaking of fancy, why not just send electronic cards? I’ve gladly embraced technology and have changed most of our lives over to the electronic age, yet I can’t bring myself to end this tradition yet. A ton of people on our list aren’t as electronically advanced as we are. Plus, there is something so magical about putting the Holiday Stamps on an envelope. On the flip side, there is something I’m not ready to give up yet when it comes to physically opening mail from far away places.

So, what about you? Do you send Holiday Cards? Are you going more electronic this year? Are you doing anything different than last year? Share with us!

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson November 12, 2009

    Of course The Casual Perfectionist is raring to go! I’ll have you know I used to mail my Christmas cards and newsletter the day after Thanksgiving. Last year, money was tight (I would spend hundreds of $$$ on it) so I disbanded the tradition. Oh, and my computer also blew up and I lost my huge mailing list.

    This year, I’ll probably just be reactive. When someone sends me a card and I have their mailing address, I’ll send one in return. Not exactly the Christmas spirit but it’s all I’ve got. I’m not into the electronic cards because I already post most of my life electronically. 🙂

  • comment avatar Gretchen White November 12, 2009

    I always send cards and some sort of newsletter. The letters aren’t traditional by any stretch of the imagination. One year, we did phony newspaper-style headlines blaring the highlights of the year. It was fun. Another year, we did a separated-at-birth thing, with everyone’s photo replaced by a celebrity or cartoon.

    My goal? To have them in the mail by December 1. It’s harder every year.

  • comment avatar Melissa November 12, 2009

    Yes, we send a photo card & letter. I usually write the first draft, and Hubby tweaks it before we send it. I try to have my cards arrive shortly after Thanksgiving, but this year I’m running behind. We send out around 75 and get I’d say close to 50.

    All of our family lives far away, so this is the letter they get the info on what we’ve been up to and how big the kids are.

  • comment avatar Danielle November 12, 2009

    In the past we’ve done a postcard with a family picture(or pictures) on it. It saves me time because I don’t have to stuff envelopes and postage is much cheaper. It’s always fun creating the postcard in photoshop. I’m behind this year and don’t even have a great updated family picture. Hopefully I can pull something together soon. They may only be getting a picture of the kids-but hey, that’s who my family wants to see anyways!
    Hearing all of you getting them out at the beginning of December is good motivation! Thanks! My friend from IL always was behind because of the craziness of the Christmas season so she’s finally decided to do Valentine’s Day cards instead!

  • comment avatar JoAnn November 12, 2009

    Oh, Amber! I’d have a nervous breakdown if I lost my list. As you can imagine, I have it saved in hard copy AND soft copy and may or may not be in triplicate. I think it’s a great idea to re-do your list based on the ones you get this year, too. It will be a fresh start for next year!

    Gretchen, I’ve seen newspaper headline holiday letters, and they are a RIOT. When (if?) I ever get my act together, I think I’ll do that. Maybe that’s a great idea for next year!

    Melissa, none of our relatives are in this state, and a lot of them aren’t on Facebook, so they don’t get to see the updated photos.

    A postcard is a great idea, Danielle. I’d never get away with that, though, because my people all want to know what we’re up to, so that’s why we do the letter (of some sort), too.

    Thanks for the comments, ladies! 🙂

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver November 12, 2009

    The entire reason I started a blog was so that I wouldn’t have to do a newsletter.

    Not really.

    But since I update ALL THE TIME, I feel like if someone really wants to know about the goings on in Chez Weebles, they can just pull up the URL and read.

    Oh, and the Casual part of me starts Christmas shopping oh, about the Solstice.

    The idea of doing Christmas cards makes me break out in hives.

    Power to ya, Miss Organization (and the rest of you card-senders)!

  • comment avatar JoAnn November 12, 2009

    Lori, you crack me up! Half of the people on The List would have no idea how to go to a website, or would prefer to have something tangible to look at while they sip their hot cocoa. The other half are already so plugged in that it’s hard to stay on top of all the information as it is. 🙂

  • comment avatar Lisa November 12, 2009

    I love sending the Christmas card photos of our boys. I used to spend hours looking for just the right cards and writing personal notes on all of them. Obviously, before I became a mom!

    For many it’s the one time a year they see the boys and hear from us. I include old friends from high school and college and great aunts and uncle we don’t see often.

    I never get a letter done and usually am scrambling to take a picture near Thanksgiving (often after) and get the cards out by the week of Christmas.

    You lot would probably be hospitalized with the anxiety from what I can tell. 🙂

  • comment avatar Lisa November 12, 2009

    ps – I had to do a double take on the topic. It is only Nov 12 for goodness sake!!
    We procrastinating types don’t like to get started too early. Besides, when I do things way ahead of time, like shopping, I usually forget I’ve done them. Then I redo everything and find the original items months later.
    Laughing all the way!!! ha, ha, ha 🙂

  • comment avatar jgoode November 12, 2009

    Sending holiday cards is a big deal to me. It’s the one time a year I remember to stop and say hello to everyone. Some years I write a letter and sometimes it’s just the card… but I always make the cards. To me it’s like being able to send a little gift to a special group of friends and family. I haven’t even started this year.. I usually don’t think about it until Thanksgiving week – not to mention, I love getting real tangible cards.. they’re so rare these days.

  • comment avatar JoAnn November 12, 2009

    Oh, Lisa, you make me laugh! We used to take our family photo the weekend of Thanksgiving, and before I had a birthday of a certain little girl to plan, I’d still have everything done and out the door on December 1st. This year, I have a little more time, because we’re using a grouping of photos that were taken within the last few months or so.

    I agree, jgoode! That’s such a great way of looking at the tradition!

  • comment avatar Susan November 13, 2009

    Wow JoAnn, you put me to shame. I always think I’m ahead of the curve because I start working on my cards over Thanksgiving weekend. But it usually takes me all month to get them all out. I am usually also conflicted over what to send each year. I always send a photo card of the fam, but some years that’s all I send and some years I send a letter. I’ve also tried a Top Five list of the top five things that happened to us over the year and have tried writing personal notes on each card (I don’t recommend that!) I’m not sure what works best. I’m just not sure that everyone wants to read a page about my family and what we did over the year. I haven’t made up my mind for this year yet…
    What you have shown me is that I need to get on it. Now!

  • comment avatar Holly Strebel November 13, 2009

    Wow and I thought I was ahead of the game because I actually THOUGHT about the cards I need to send out this year. Guess, that doesn’t really count for much. Dang.

  • comment avatar Mama Bird November 13, 2009

    I started doing a magazine-style newsletter once our daughter was born and love putting it together! We mail it along with a formal picture of her in a card to family and close friends. We try to keep our mailing list small, which helps me to get them out by Dec. 25th. I’m afraid I’m a wait-til-the-last-minute type and sometimes my cards might not arrive until New Year’s.

    Sending e-cards will never replace receiving beautiful holiday cards. Christmas will save Hallmark!

  • comment avatar Susan November 16, 2009

    Mama Bird – I love your idea with the magazine style letter – I think I’m going to try it this year. Thanks for the idea!

  • comment avatar Suzanne (Crunchy green Mom) November 19, 2009

    I am a major dork as well when it comes to these! I have been on and off with these.. but this year.. I went all out!

    I won a 50$ GC to Tinyprints.com a few months ago, and I’ve been holding off on it. 50 cards, all with a holiday crossword puzzle on it and our pictures on the inside were orders and received, October 15. yea…. a month ago. I will have my “letter” finished in the next few weeks and then…. I can send them out the day after Thanksgiving.

    I am more excited about his years because they are so nifty. Wanna swap cards?? Heh….

  • comment avatar Suzanne (Crunchy green Mom) November 19, 2009

    P.S. I said letter done in the next few weeks means… I’m steal Chris Bird’s idea and I’ll make a Christmas Newsletter at work THIS week and mail it ALL out next Friday, when I am off work and can relax with not kids in the house (They will ALL be at their dads. WOOT!)

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