My least favorite time of year: the annual address book update

Updating Christmas Address bookOne of the necessary but painful activities of the holiday season is the annual updating of the address book. Yes, it’s all part of organizing for Christmas and must be done before sending out Christmas cards, but it’s a job best swallowed with a bottle of wine and lots of music.

A few years ago my address book was just that—a book. A little yellow book I kept in the kitchen with phone numbers and addresses. I learned early on never to take a pen to this precious book, always pencil, for easy updates. Still, some members of my family have moved so often the paper was worn through with erasing. And I could never tell from one year to the next whether the address I had was the current one. As new addresses came to me, usually via the previous year’s holiday cards, I’d toss them in a pile for updating next year, sometime around December 15th.

Since then, I have upgraded my system to an Excel spreadsheet. The advantages to this are that it’s easy to make changes, and you can keep track of the changes if you want to. You can also use the list to print envelopes or address labels in Word. It’s not as convenient as I’d like it to be, however, because I still let the changes pile up and do them all, you guessed it, around December 15th.

I took an informal poll in our office to see if anyone had a better solution. I was surprised to find that about a third of us, even some of our IT gurus, are still in paper mode. Another third use some form of electronic spreadsheet, like I do. And the rest, the early adapters, have moved to a Google Doc format. A Google Doc is free to set up, and accessible from most smart phones and from any computer. This means that you can update addresses the minute you hear about a change, and that you have access to this updated address list wherever you are. You can also share it with other members of your family, and they can make updates, too.

When it comes to organizing for Christmas it seems that I am behind the times, as usual. But since it’s just one simple step to convert my Excel list to a Google Doc, I am not that far away from a state-of-the-art address book. I love the idea of having access to it on my phone. The downside is that currently you cannot print labels or envelopes directly from Google Docs, but it’s easy to export it back into Excel or Word to do this. Besides, I haven’t decided whether I’m going to hand-write or print address labels this year. I will make that decision later, probably sometime around December 15th.

Have you started organizing for Christmas or shopping for Christmas cards?  Find other ideas on addressing Christmas cards on our blog.

Make reading Christmas Cards a family tradition

Taped Up Memories Christmas cardsIn our family, it’s a race to the mailbox to be the one who gets to open the Christmas cards each day, a practice that really isn’t fair when some of us regularly get home later than others. That’s why I was interested to hear some of the wonderful family Christmas traditions our customers have come up with to involve the whole family in opening photo Christmas cards.

One family has a son in college, and they wait for him to come home for the holidays before opening any of the cards they have received. It sends a message that he is still an important part of the family and that their family Christmas traditions wouldn’t be the same without him.

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Christmas card stuffing—it’s a family affair

hot chocolate
Sending Christmas cards can be a lot of work for one person. This year, make it a party and get the whole family involved. Stuffing envelopes and affixing stamps and address labels are jobs even kids can do. Here are some family Christmas ideas that will make it more fun:

  • Have your Christmas card list, address labels, cards, stamps and envelopes ready to go
  • Make it a festive occasion with some holiday tunes or holiday movies playing
  • Break out old holiday photo albums to share with the kids
  • Serve hot chocolate for the kids, wine for the grownups
  • Use snacks as a reward for finishing a task (sticky fingers and Christmas cards don’t mix)
  • Be sure to have the correct postage on hand. Most of our cards require one stamp, but we do sell a few that require more postage. If you are using a Christmas letter insert, recipe card insert or extra photos, it’s a good idea to weigh your card at the post office before buying stamps, just to be sure (self-adhesive stamps are easiest)
  • Self-adhesive Christmas address labels make addressing your cards go twice as fast—and they add a festive touch to your card before it’s even opened. Many cards have coordinating address labels designed to match!

Once you’ve got your Christmas cards and address labels ready to go, read more ideas on addressing Christmas cards on our blog. We’d love to hear more family Christmas ideas from you!

Ahh … Address Labels

address labelsWhy, oh why, would anyone get excited about address labels? Yes, you have to put a return address on your mail and, yes, address labels can save you lots of time if you are sending lots and lots of mail…like during Christmas card season. But if all you can think about is the functionality, you are missing all the fun.

First impressions count. And when your friends and relatives get your holiday card in the mail, how will they know it’s not a bill, or junk mail, or a card from the realtor down the street? Because it has that festive, colorful, personalized address label on it, of course! It will make them smile and get excited to see the matching card inside, we guarantee it.

Another reason we’re giddy about address labels is how much fun they are to stick on things. Even a kid can do it. One of our favorite address label ideas is to get the kids involved in the Christmas card assembly process. Address labels and stamps are their department. You are the supervisor. Pour yourself a glass of wine and watch. It will be fun. We guarantee it.

Check and see if your Christmas cards have matching address labels available. And for more ways to make addressing your Christmas cards easier and more fun, check out our blog.

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