One List You Need to Prep Before the Holidays

published Oct 29, 2018
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For 10 days at the end of October, Apartment Therapy wants to help you get ahead on the holidays. Together, we’re checking off doable daily tasks to get one step closer to the effortless holiday season you deserve. Sign up now (it’s free!) so you don’t miss a thing.

I am zero percent shocked that the whole “making a list and checking it twice” thing is an important part of Santa Claus lore, because something about the holiday season just brings out the bullet journaler in all of us.

If you want to stay organized, it’s all about the lists: lists of gifts to buy and things to pack. But the list you need to prep way in advance is the list of who you’re going to be sending your season’s greetings to. So that’s what today is all about for us…

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

DAY 6:

Plan your holiday card strategy.

If you’re not sending cards out this year, you’re off the hook today. (Though you should know you can send e-cards for free without a ton of effort!)

If you are planning on sending out greeting cards, today is the day to get started. Your task is to do one thing to get your holiday card plan into place:

Update your contacts and collect addresses

If you sent cards last year, check your list and update it if you know anyone who’s moved or won’t be getting a card this year. Then, ask new friends for their addresses to add to your list. (Going digital? You’ll need to collect email addresses instead of mailing addresses.)

If you’re starting from scratch, a service like Postable can make easy work of collecting an address book anew: Sign up for a free account, then Postable provides you with a link to send to friends and family. When they click through, they’ll input their mailing address, email address, and any other relevant details through the online form and, voila!, your contact list builds itself. And it can be exported to a spreadsheet for printing labels. (You can even send your holiday cards directly through Postable, starting at $1.35 for postcards and $2.99 for cards in envelopes.)

Decide if you’re making, buying, or going digital

There are pros and cons to each. Digital cards are affordable (sometimes free), low-effort, easy to deliver, and zero-waste, but they lack a little bit of the magic of the holiday card season. If you haven’t considered e-cards in a while, they’ve come a long way since 2005. Today’s digital cards are elegant, customizable, and often arrive as animated videos to capture some of the paper mail charm.

(Image credit: Greenvelope)

Modern Joy Digital Card from Greenvelope
Greenvelope charges a flat fee depending on how many cards you’re “mailing;” you can send to up to 40 people for $39. See more digital holiday cards from Greenvelope.

(Image credit: Paperless Post)

Jardin Noel Digital Card from Paperless Post
Some Paperless Post cards are free, while others require you to purchase “coins” to send. See more digital holiday cards from Paperless Post.

Buying holiday cards (whether you grab a box of cards at the store or order custom cards from a place like Minted) is a classically charming option, but the price can quickly add up—especially if you end up getting family pictures taken. It’s the Goldilocks option as far as effort goes—the hardest part is scribbling out notes and addresses and getting them posted in the mail. (Although some services even handle the addressing for you—super easy if you have a spreadsheet to import.)

Making your own holiday cards is great if you’re feeling crafty. Homemade cards are uniquely special, and it can be quite affordable, especially if you already have a crafting closet or try to repurpose things like magazine pages or found objects. But if you have a long list of people to mail to, you should be prepared to dedicate plenty of time to getting them all done and shipped away.

Order stamps

If you’re snail-mailing your cards, you can get one thing out of the way today by ordering stamps. Estimate how much postage you’ll need (extra thick, heavy, or square-shaped cards may need extra postage). The current price of a regular, first-class stamp is 50 cents. I recommend buying Forever stamps in a non-seasonal design, so you can use them after the holidays if you end up having extras. You can buy stamps at pharmacies, some ATMs, or online if you want to pick a cute motif. (I’m deciding between Love Flourishes designed by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., and these classic ones that look like vintage stamps.)

Choose or shoot a photo

If you’re going the photo card route, go through your photo collections and email yourself some of your favorite pictures from this year. Or use today to make an arrangement to have your picture taken by a professional or a friend.

Choose your cards

Whether you’re going digital, handmade, or BIY (that’s buy it yourself), you can use today to select your cards, then either save them, order them, or arrange for the supplies you need to make them.

Here are a few cards that I love from different retailers—you can visit their sites to see way more options.

(Image credit: Minted)

Nouveau Holiday Cards, starting at $1.24 each
You can have the envelopes pre-printed with addresses for free. See more holiday cards from Minted.

(Image credit: Shutterfly)
(Image credit: Amazon)

48-Pack Greeting Cards Bulk Box Set, $11.99
Envelopes included. See more holiday cards on Amazon.

(Image credit: Artifact Uprising)

Our Home to Yours Holiday Card, starting at $1.25 each
You can have the envelopes pre-printed with addresses for 40 cents each. See more holiday cards from Artifact Uprising.

(Image credit: Paper Source)

Hanukkah Color Chart Card, $6.95
See more holiday greeting cards from Paper Source.

(Image credit: Lovepop)

How to keep up with Holiday Jumpstart:

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