Did you know that Americans buy 6.5 billion greeting cards every year? Sending a greeting card is a great way to let someone know you’re thinking of them, say happy birthday, say congratulations, and more. 

It’s also a great way to say Merry Christmas. In fact, 1.6 billion of the greeting cards purchased are for Christmas. As we enter fall, it might feel too early to start talking about buying Christmas cards; however, starting your planning early is important because it will keep you from being stressed. 


In addition, you need to consider Christmas card etiquette as you plan to send your cards, and ensure that you have enough cards. Keep reading for Christmas card tips that will make sending this year’s holiday cards a breeze. 

Don’t Stress Your Photographer

Do you enjoy sending photos with your Christmas cards? Or do you use your photos to make postcards to send out? This has become a common practice, and that means that photographers get booked quickly. 

If you want to send photos as part of your Christmas card, don’t stress your photographer by waiting until the last minute to book them. You should start looking for a photographer to book mid-year.

Ideally, you should plan to take Christmas card photos in October or September. This will give your photographer time to get your photos ready. 

It will also ensure that they’re not rushed and that you end up with the perfect photos for the occasion. If you’re using a photographer who will do Christmas card prints for you, ensure that you know how many you will need so they have time to get them printed and delivered to you. 

Order Your Prints in a Timely Manner

On the same note, don’t stress your printer out, either. Many of these businesses quickly become busy around the holidays. 

Figure out where you want your holiday cards printed early, and then talk to the company about how far in advance you should place your order. For many printers, the best time is four to six weeks before Thanksgiving. 

This will give them the time to get your order printed and deliver it. It will also ensure that you get the cards early enough to write greetings and mail them. 

Keep a List of Recipients

You don’t have to send a card to everyone you know; however, it’s important that you do send a card to the important people in your life. You should also plan to send cards to the people you believe will send you cards. 

While you don’t have to send a card to everyone, it’s important that you don’t forget the people you should send a card to. Unfortunately, going off a running list in your head makes it easy to forget people. 

The holidays can be tough on everyone, and if you feel forgotten, it’s even tougher. A greeting card is a perfect way to make sure that the people in your life know you’re thinking about them. 

It’s easy to track your list if you use a spreadsheet online. However, if tech isn’t your thing, a notebook with names and addresses works just as well. 

This will also help you know how many cards you need to order. Keep in mind you might want to order a couple of extra cards just in case you have any last minute additions. 

Consider the Message

Have you ever gotten a Christmas card from your grandparents that’s signed with their real names versus “grandma and grandpa?” Or a Christmas card from family friends with a generic printed message and nothing else? Remembering your friends and family is one thing; however, personalizing the card makes it that much more special. 

Handwritten vs. Printed

If you have an extensive Christmas card list, handwriting messages can feel stressful. However, a handwritten and personalized message sends the message that you’re truly thinking of them. 

Receiving a card with a generic message that’s printed can make it feel like you’re just another person checked off the list. If you would like to include life updates, send that printed as a “yearly newsletter.” However, include a couple of personalized lines for each specific person. 

It doesn’t have to be super deep or overly long; a couple of lines is all it takes to make someone feel special. 

Your Opening

When you write the card, use the names of everyone in the family if possible. It’s much more personal to greet the recipients that way versus just saying something like, “Dear Miller Family.” 

Consider Your Closing

Don’t sign love for everyone, especially if you plan to send cards to business contacts. Save love, with love, and other forms of love for close friends and family. 

When you’re sending a card to an acquaintance or business contact, use a closing line like best wishes or Happy Holidays from “insert name here.” 

Consider the Greeting

In recent years there has been a lot of debate over saying Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays. Christians get upset because they feel that saying Happy Holidays takes the meaning away from the occasion. Others get upset because of the lack of inclusivity. 

However, the reality is that the majority of Americans aren’t going to get up in arms about whether you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or Happy Holidays in your holiday card. 

A Christmas card is about sharing your joy over the holiday you’re celebrating. However, if you’re sending cards to business contacts and family and friends, you will want to consider having different greetings. 

For business contacts, you might want to avoid some of the overly religious and emotional language. However, for family and friends, you can include that. 

If you’re still worried about the Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays greeting, consider what state the person lives in. Studies have shown that different states generally have more popular holiday greetings. 

Know When to Send Your Cards Out

Sending your cards too early can make it so that people are getting their cards unnaturally early. However, sending your cards out too late can cause even bigger problems with people not receiving their cards until after Christmas. 

The post office quickly fills up in December with packages getting shipped and greeting cards going out. So, it’s important that you send out your cards at the right time. 

Many people recommend sending cards around December 8. This gives the cards time to get to people in other states and helps you feel confident that their greeting will get there in time. 

Know How to Address Your Envelope

How you address the envelope can feel like a challenge. Do you include multiple names? Do you include titles? 

The answer to this question is different based on the circumstance. 

Families that Share the Same Last Name

If everyone in the household shares the same last name, it’s easy to address your envelope. You simply put the word “the” in front of the family name. 

In this circumstance, you can address the envelope as “The Miller Family” or “The Millers.” This method works for married couples and for families. 

Couples With Different Last Names

What do you do when you want to send a card to a couple that lives together but isn’t married? Or a couple that is married but doesn’t share the same last name? 

In this circumstance, you will use both parties’ full names. For example, “Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith.” You can also use “&” in place of the word and. 

Two Men or Two Women With Different Last Names

For this, you can use the same concept as the previous section. However, instead of addressing the envelope to Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith, you will address it to Mr. John Doe and Mr. John Smith. 

It works the same way for two women as well, Ms. Jane Doe and Ms. Jane Smith. 

Families With Different Last Names

If families have different last names, it becomes a bit more complicated. However, there are a variety of options you can choose from.

You’re going to follow the same format as the couples with different last names; however, in this circumstance, you need to know how to add in children’s names. 

Here’s what you will do. First, write “Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith” on the top line. Second, add the names of the children on the line below. 

It will look like this:

Ms. Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith

Katie, Charles, Bobby 


If you’re looking to be a little more casual, you can also simply address the envelope to “The Doe/Smith Family.”

Single Person

This is possibly the easiest circumstance. You simply need to include the first and last name of the person you’re sending the card to. If you want, you can add a title like Ms, Miss, Mr, or Mrs. 

To a Doctor

If you have friends who are doctors or you want to send Christmas cards to the family doctor, you should include their title. Use their first and last name on the card. You will follow that up with MD at the end. 

It will look like this: 

Jane Doe, MD. 


Should You Include a Return Address? 

Always include a return address. This allows people to know who it’s from before opening it. A lot of businesses have started sending out “holiday cards” that are simply Christmas-themed advertisements. 

Don’t let your card get lost in a pile of junk mail because it didn’t have a return address. A return address also gives the recipient your information so they can reciprocate with their own Christmas card. 

Don’t Send Digital Cards

Everything is digital now, and it can be easy to fall prey to the trap of sending a digital card. However, there’s something special about receiving a physical card in the mail. 

It brings a little joy when usually the mail consists of bills and junk. If you’re worried about being eco-friendly, choose greetings made from recycled materials. 

Use the Right Envelope

Did you know that there is a right and wrong envelope to use? Traditionally, envelopes with triangular flaps are intended for personal correspondence. This is the type of envelope you’ll want to place your Christmas cards in. 

Envelopes with straight flaps should get saved for business matters. 

Should You Include Fur Babies? 

There’s a lot of debate about this one. Some people believe that you sign Christmas cards from your pets as well. After all, they are part of your family. 

However, others say that you should not. Personally, we think it’s up to you. However, if you’re having a hard time making a decision, there are a few factors that can help you decide. 

Your Audience

If you’re sending a Christmas card to Great Aunt Milly with about 15 cats, it’s completely appropriate to include your pet’s names. Aunt Milly will likely appreciate it as it’s likely her fur babies are just as much a part of her family. 

The same goes for all animal lovers. However, if you’re sending a card to a business contact, you may want to hold off on including Fido. Unless you happen to work with animals, then go for it. 


Do you normally include your pet’s name on birthday cards and other letters? If you do, feel free to include them on your Christmas cards as well. 

In addition, if you are sending out photos with your card that include your pet, it makes sense to include their name as well. 

Your Preference

Do you want to include your pet’s name? If so, do it. These are your Christmas cards, and if your pet is part of your family, you should include them. 

Don’t Let Christmas Card Etiquette Stress You Out

Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be stressful. Fortunately, with the above Christmas card etiquette tips, you don’t have to stress out about sending your cards this year. 

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