Holiday Card Etiquette

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Photo by Dogwood Hill.


I'd like to start this topic by pointing out that nobody wants to be the grammar police. I'd be brilliantly content receiving your holiday card with perfect spelling and grammar - complete with the photo your 'friend with the good camera' took of your family in some nondescript field wearing coordinated outfits. But alas, here we are. Without a doubt, some of you will include an apostrophe and nobody will tell you because, well, what's done is done. If you're going to take your valuable time and money to send a holiday card this year, please, for the love of that sweet newborn 'reason for the season', proofread your card. 



If you have just learned how to properly write your own name for the first time, get ready to have your mind blown about how to address envelopes. During the holiday season when your card does not serve as an invitation to an event, it is perfectly acceptable to address your envelopes to an entire family - leaving off individual names completely. In that case, use the same rules above that you used to write your own name to then address your envelopes. If your card is serving as an invitation, that's another story that we don't quite have the time for today.


If you're like me and the majority of your recipients are either young, unmarried and may or may not be living together, engaged to be married, friends within the same household, or any combination other than a single-family household of the same surname, it can be a bit tricky.


I could go on and on about titles, envelopes, invitations, and correspondence in general, but I think these were the most relevant points to cover in this post. Here are a few final thoughts for the post-script:

  • Always order spare cards and even more spare envelopes. If you receive a card from someone you forgot to include on your original list, pop that bad boy in the mail right away and make sure to add them onto your list for next year. Use your judgement on how many extras you want to order - if you were recently married or experienced another major life event, expect more cards than you did the year before. Extra envelopes are always handy when you plan to write addresses yourself.
  • If you're writing a 'family letter', be extra cautious in what you share this year. Family letters are the apex of humble bragging and while I think these can be done in a great way, I urge you to think critically about your audience when writing your message. Many families have experienced significant loss this year. Some are celebrating differently than years past, whether due to financial hardship or loved ones lost. Some may be celebrating alone amidst extreme caution. 
  • Don't stress over the photo, you're perfect as you are. Holiday cards a way to spread holiday cheer and show loved ones that you're thinking about them during this season - it's not a vanity contest. That's all I really have to say here. 

Happy Holidays!

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