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A Primer on Sending Your Annual Holiday Card, from the Experts

Let these local paper people design a Christmas card that’ll have the whole neighborhood talking.
Elizabeth Lavin

You’re innocently checking the mail in the dregs of November and you see it: a red envelope with a holiday stamp and a return address for a family friend. The sinking feeling hits you like a ton of bricks. Christmas cards. For the umpteenth year in a row, you forgot to order them early. The text-messaged address requests start furiously flying. You scroll through a bevy of online options and rush shipping fee notices while waiting in line at the post office to buy stamps, pledging that next year will be different. 

If Christmas cards are one of those holiday to-dos that sneak up on you every year, skip the mass-market madness and instead, enlist the help of one of these talented local stationers. In short order, they can create a beautiful custom season’s greeting that’ll be the talk of the neighborhood. And best of all: Most will address and print return addresses for you, too. Especially short on time? Check out their quick-turn options. You’ll have cards delivered well before Santa makes his rounds—a true Christmas miracle. Plus: Three local experts share advice on your most vexing etiquette questions.  



Owner Heather Wiese Alexander has a wealth of customizable ready-to-order holiday options on her website, but of course, the stationer is happy to create something completely bespoke for a minimum order of $1,000. “It’s really only limited by imagination; budget; and of course, time,” she says. “[We’ve done] Star Wars theme, music theme…I’m working on one now that’s designed to look like the movie The Shining.” 

Should you send a Christmas card to loved ones who practice other faiths?  

Heather Wiese Alexander: “A kind gesture is always kind. It’s not unkind to send seasonal greetings to someone who practices another religion. Most people would rather be included than excluded, but you will not find a universally agreed upon consensus on this. You can always err on the side of thoughtfulness and reaching out in a spirit of genuine inclusiveness. How it’s received isn’t up to you.”

Color Box Design & Letterpress

Whether you prefer letterpress, engraving, or flat printing, and whether you need two cards or 200, your paper wishes are Rhonda Camp Warren’s command. Simply set up a meeting to discuss the deets, and in four weeks’ time, her team can whip up a one-of-a-kind design. In a rush? Check out her new DIY options—with slots to insert your own photo prints—that ship quickly. 

Should everyone who sends you a Christmas card receive one in return? 

Rhonda Camp Warren: “I personally feel you should spread your own holiday cheer and not expect anything in return. It is nice to reciprocate—but it shouldn’t be expected.”

Missing Q Press

Jason McDaniel knows you’re not cookie-cutter. Using a range of printing techniques and decorative flourishes (embossing, beveled edges, die cuts, and more), his team can create custom cards to suit your style. He’ll even digitally address your envelopes for you. All it takes is a minimum order of 50 cards and two weeks. Need them even faster? Shop their quick-print semi-custom line—which are sans photo or allow you to add one later—online.

When should you mail out your Christmas cards?

Jason McDaniel: “Personal opinion: Anything before Thanksgiving is too early. If you can have them in the mail by December 20, go for it. If you can’t, send a New Year’s card. [But] the fact that people are sending something is more important to me than the timing.”


A Note About Pluralizing 

Apostrophes are handy little punctuators, but they have their place—and that place is not on your Christmas card. Consider this our editors’ PSA (or desperate plea): To pluralize your surname, you need only add an “s”—or an “es” if your name ends with “s,” “x,” “z,” “ch,” or “sh.” So Mark would send a card from The Cubans, and Jerry from The Joneses. Or when in doubt, simply insert your last name between the words “The” and “Family.”

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