If you're anything like me, you get totally stoked when a non-bill, non-junk piece of mail winds up in your mail box. It's for this reason alone that I keep sending out Christmas cards. Maybe if I pay it forward, a few cards will wind up in my mailbox.
That being said, when am I supposed to find the time to fill out and mail the darn things? Last years' arrived somewhere closer to December 27th. Oops. Also, this job falls under the "not all that enjoyable, but worth the payoff" category. So this year, I started thinking about ways to make this process easier and more joyful.
Here's what I came up with:
Step 1: Sigh and give up on ever taking a family Christmas photo, choosing the perfect layout and font, having it printed and actually sending them out before Christmas. Not gonna happen. Settle for a box of cute cards at Target.
Step 2: Realize that while I have all my contacts on my phone, it's still a pain in the ass to search for everyone. And that screen keeps going dark when I'm halfway through writing out an address. Grab a glass of wine and make a list of my favorite people's addresses on a Google Doc. Print said doc.
Step 3: Refill wine glass. Sit down at table with box of cards, list of addresses and stamps. Turn on Christmas music to get in the mood. Light some candles and tell everyone to leave me alone for the next hour.
Step 4: Enjoy thinking of each person as I write them a brief message, while enjoying the cozy atmosphere.
Step 5: Cards done. Refill glass of wine, I earned it. Set cards by front door for dropping off at post office after Thanksgiving.
Takeaways - The joy of writing cards comes from the joy of thinking about your loved ones as you write them. The wine helps. Make it easier by having your cards, stamps, address stamp ($8 on Vistaprint) or labels, address list and pen all gathered together when you start. Make it an assembly line. After you've written each card and addressed each envelope, THEN stamp each one, followed by using the address stamp or label on each one.
Try to stick with one box of cards. 16 to 18 tops. You can narrow your list down by just sending to immediate family and best friends. Use a digital card for acquaintances, Facebook friends, coworkers, etc. At the end of this holiday season, see who sent you a physical card and add them to your address list for next year. If they are bothering to send them, they probably love receiving them.