Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas cards

OK, I am interested in your thoughts about Christmas cards!

Why do you send them? What is your purpose?
How do you choose your annual card? How much thought do you give to your selection?
Do you include handwritten messages?
What do you do with the cards you receive from others?
Any other thoughts?

Comments appreciated!

19 comments:

dan and rachel said...

my main purpose in sending christmas cards is to keep in touch with people i haven't seen in awhile. i do send them to my close friends, too, but mostly i see it as a way to stay in touch. i try to include a short hand-written message, especially if i haven't talked to the person for awhile. at the least, i sign our names. we try to include a picture where you can see the kids faces, so people can see how the kids look/have changed from the previous year. we just choose the post cards with pictures, not actual cards.

when we receive cards, we put them up on our mantle or on the refrigerator throughout the christmas season. i love receiving them! it makes my day! i love seeing pictures from our friends that we haven't seen in awhile.

Lisa said...

Great questions!
Like Rachel, my purpose for sending them is to stay in touch with those we don't see all year long. I do also send to immediate family & friends, more to thank them for the meaningful place they hold in our lives.
Over the years I have sent about every card variety imaginable! From the photo postcards done at a studio to Hallmark cards with a handwritten note and wallet of Lauren tucked inside. I often look for unique cards, but seem to gravitate towards the same style every year! LOL Old habits and all.....

4 years ago I started typing a note but hated that it sounded so much about "us". I have since included a letter that is mostly pictures of Lauren from throughout the year, with tidbits about her life and how she has changed. Sometimes she "writes" the note and she always has a say in the production of the letter!

I do also write a short note inside the card...it bugs me so much when all I get is a card with a name...I know folks are busy, BUT I LOVE hearing about their lives and what is new! And gosh darn it, postage is high now...make that card count! :)

This year I did share news of our adoption and sent our blog link. I was so thrilled to share our big news & include pics. of Ty!

I place the cards/pics. we get in a basket, with photos going on the fridge. I save them until the next Christmas and I reread them all before sending mine out each year! Makes folks seem less far away I guess.
Well, that's about it....I was sort of kidding about getting cards with only a signature...but I do adore when people share something!
Lisa

Just Us said...

ditto for us..usually send them to keep in touch with friends near and far. I use to write a hand written note, but now having a little one around the house, I find it more challenging just to get the card out on time. Since bringing home Yu-Lin we have moved to the photo type cards that include us and our two doggies.

I really enjoy receiving cards from others and hang it up in our house until after the holiday season. After that, I usually keep the cards as momentos.

Jenna said...

Mostly, I send them because I LOVE receiving them from people I don't see often, so I'm thinking maybe they like it too! I love seeing how my friends kids have changed. I even love getting the letters from friends who include their year-end wrap up! It helps me feel connected to the people I care about who I don't get to see throughout the year. When I get them, I cut out the pictures, and hang them in a big collage on the side of my fridge and leave them there all year. That way I can help my kids know them and we can pray for them! It helps me to feel closer to my loved ones that are far away.

I send cards to anyone who I don't see on a regular basis: my college friends, cousins, and all our aunts and uncles. I know my aunts and uncles LOVE getting the kid's pictures each year, and sending them is my way of letting them know how special they are to me- even if I can't see them as often as I like. I know they also appreciate feeling like they are a part of my kids lives. (We've always been really close with our extended family.) I don't send cards to anyone I see regularly- like people from church, neighbors, or other close friends!

We do a 4x8 picture card and I always pick a design that just strikes me as perfect for that year. This year, it was "JOY". Most years we also send out a funny card to some of our wackiest friends. Last year I put a picture of Sawyer covered in (what else?) vomit and a picture of Chloe screaming and we wrote "Tidings of comfort and joy." Our friends all love those cards, so it's become Scot's little tradition.

I ALWAYS write a short message on the back of the cards. I just think plain cards are impersonal. Plus, these are people I think of often throughout the year- even if I don't see them or talk to them often, so I want them to know that!

I'm actually pretty bummed because I have only received 5 cards this year, and usually 1/2 the side of my fridge is covered. I hope people are just running late (like me)! :)

Tish said...

love reading your answers! thanks so much for sharing!

Cindy said...

We send the cards mostly to family and friends who have moved or we no longer see on a regular basis, as a way to keep up with them. Now that we have kids, we send photocards that I design and print at Costco. . .before kids, we sent out Hallmark cards. We include a short letter summarizing the highlights of our year. . .I wish I had time to handwrite notes, maybe next year. As for cards we receive, I always enjoy reading what people have been up to and we hang the photocards on our refrigerator.

This year we are going to do something a little different - we are going to put all of the cards we receive in a basket and after the holidays, we will pull one card out each night at dinner and pray for that family.

Cindy
http://adopttaiwan.wordpress.com

taiwanbaby said...

We send to family and friends. Many are friends that we don't see very often so the annual card is very special. We hang them around a mirror that is in our living room. The kids love to point out family and other kids they know. My husband has a serious problem with photos of just the kids. He likes to see the kids, but really wants to see how our friends(the mommy or the daddy) are looking and what they are doing as they are why we stay in touch. I have since come around to his view point. Because of this we always send a family photo. I like the news from everyone, so we always send a letter with everyone in the family getting a paragraph. My husband LOVES getting cards, so any day we don't get any is very sad for him.

Shannon said...

ok - i'm going to be the oddball here, but we stopped sending cards a few years ago when we were trying to cut down on the "busyness" of the holidays. and, it was and still is so freeing. last year we did a photo card which we sent through email to everyone...which actually gets to more people than it would if we were sending regular mail. i know some people think that's lame or less personal...but for us, it works. we still get to touch base with friends...and we find that people we haven't talked to in awhile are more quick to reply to an email than to a card/letter. soooo...that's us.

as for getting cards, we do enjoy getting them and i put them in a little holiday bag that hangs from our closet doorknob after we've all read it. i keep them til the following year and enjoy looking through all the pictures once again the next year before discarding them. one year when i was trying to be really creative and thrifty, i cut out the interesting pictures from the cards and used them as name tags for gifts.

alrighty, that's us - how about you?!

Tish said...

oddball shannon, you are so funny! ummm...as for me? my purpose with Christmas cards has been to point people to Jesus, so I would look for a card that did this and then I would also write a standard, simple message in each. since i send cardsAND ones we don't, this got kind of expensive (i always seemed to like the most expensive cards!)

before M, scott & i never really had a reason to do the "family update" letter....and now with the blog, everyone who cares what we are up to pretty much reads the blog, so no new news to report in a letter.

this year, you may remember that i posted about buying the holiday stationary and then having M color it. this definitely turned out to be much less expensive, but obviously more time consuming. the reasons i liked it were: it involved M in a holiday activity (he would color a handful of pages each morning), i wrote a Bible verse on each one because I wanted to continue to keep the focus on Jesus, and because the page was so big, it forced me to write more than just our names on it! I was able to convey our wishes for families this holiday season. i also like the fact that people won't feel bad throwing it away after CHristmas (unless they use it for refrigerator art) because i feel TERRIBLE throwing away the photo cards, expensive cards, or handmade cards that people send...

i like the ideas listed for keeping the photos up year round and reusing cards for gift tags.

every night at the dinner table we open our received cards together and talk about them.

the reason i brought this up? someone i know rec'd a FOUR page holiday newsletter all about her friend's family with only a very, very, very tiny "Merry Christmas" on a sidebar. i guess it just struck me as very "me" focused...but i wondered if i was being judgmental. it's not that i don't LOVE getting updates & photos from our friends/family but i also want to use the opportunity to let them know that we are thinking of THEM.

dan and rachel said...

i think that it has become such a tradition that the christmas season is the time when you update friends and family with pictures or "the family letter". we didn't do a family letter because we have our blog, but i would say that half of the people that we sent our cards to don't check our blog or don't even know about it.

i wouldn't mind if someone sent a four page letter, although it'd have to be pretty cleverly written for me to read it! :) to me, it seems more "standard" to write a page or two.

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

Even though I am normally kind of an eco-nerd, I LOVE, LOVE , LOVE cards. I have always loved sending and receiving mail, so I am all over Christmas cards.

I too always love the most expensive cards, but I try to keep myself in check. We do a picture card and the cheesey newsletter.

Why? We have family anf friends all over the country. Lots follow our blog, but lots don't.

We have an iron Christmas tree card holder that goes on a door thay we place cards in. We also hang a ribbon on vrious closet/pantry doors and tape them to that. I must display them! :-)

Tish said...

@ rachel, yes, that is why i had to check my judgmental attitude! it does seem that a family letter is the standard now...and what people WANT to receive.

Phatchik said...

With regards to your comment, Tish: I hear what you're saying about the Christmas letter. I would assume that it's a tradition started long before blogs and emails so it was a once-per-year update to all family and friends. If that's the case, it would of course be "me-focused." However, nowadays that typically isn't necassary.

I don't send Holiday or Chistmas cards because, well, I'm Jewish, but I think I might reconsider if I had children. Dunno...

dan and rachel said...

not to "over comment" but i think the christmas card topic is really interesting! like rebecca, i too am normally "green" but make the exception for christmas cards because i love mail (not JUNK mail, which is all i normally get!) and i want to make the people receiving our cards feel special -- i stamp them -- this year i did a "joy" stamp on the back and a christmas tree on the front, i try to include a little note. i hope it adds a little joy to someone's day as receiving them does to mine.

my family has this thing where they are really judgmental about people saying "happy holidays" vs merry christmas. to appease them, i have said "merry christmas" but we do have friends that are jewish and muslim so we cannot send them a card because obviously they do not celebrate christmas. i see happy holidays being all inclusive, but personally even for those of us who celebrate christmas, there are a bunch of holidays lumped right in a row -- thanksgiving, christmas, then the new year. if my card was solely a christmas card, i would not have a family picture as the focal point -- back to it being more of a way to keep in touch. not sure if that makes sense?

Tish said...

rachel...you can comment as often as you like..i love hearing from you! it is interesting hearing everyone's ideas, traditions, likes/dislikes regarding Christmas cards! i didn't think anyone would even respond to this post!

Jenna said...

OK, a 4 page card detailing everything about the past year is a bit much!! That would seem very "me focused" for sure! A one-page letter updating us on the various family events throughout the year is great- I enjoy that. 4 pages is WAY too much!!!

Jon and Em said...

receiving others' christmas cards make my day! it's the one time i don't even mind getting bundled up to go outside to the mailbox. i keep the cards for one year. it's fun to compare how much they've grown from year to year. every year, i put our card in each of the kids' stockings. it's fun looking at them over the years. in fact, i'm still wondering why the one year i chose to be in the picture, it had to be the year halle was a week old?!? "MOMnesia", i guess!

Andrea said...

I LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS!
I keep every card that has a picture on it.
Our CHRISTMAS box has tons.
Last year a friend was here when we were getting out the decorations and she saw a card that she sent to us in 1998.
She had already forgotten what her children were wearing. It was really cool to see her face when she saw the card.
I also keep 1 copy of the ones we send so that the kids can see them when they are older.
We have card holders that ahng on the door.
I send cards because I want the people I care about to know that even during the hustle and the bustle..I am thinking of them.

I like any kind of card.
I think that people should chhose the card that they like best to send, not go with what is "IN".
If you go back and look at them they really are a reflection of the person who sends them.
I LOVED M's pic! BTW!
I'm thinking I might have to talk to Scot about an arranged marriage.
I have a 3y/o and a 5y/0(just in case he likes OLDER women.

xoxo,
A

Lainey-Paney said...

this year, we haven't had our stuff together in time to get them in the mail.

since the birth of our son (this is his 4th Christmas), we've sent out 1 season of Christmas cards, and the rest have been "New Year's Year In Review" cards & newsletters.

...I think that's what we'll do this year too!