We love getting Christmas cards in the mail. Embossed envelopes with familiar handwriting and festive stamps. Cards with sweet notes or long letters tucked in side. Photos of our friends and their kids and their pets. SO. GREAT. But then there’s the whole sending them thing…and we’re not always so great at that. Our intentions are amazing, but our follow through is…unimpressive. And that is why this year the Think.Make.Share. team is doing a Christmas Card Challenge, and we want you to join us!
What is this Christmas Card Challenge?
We’re going to make it fun to send Christmas cards. That’s it! Sign up for help breaking it down into easy, do-able tasks, and lots of great advice along the way. And at the end, we’ll all take pictures of our glorious stacks of hand-addressed envelopes and social share the heck out of them (#pswritebacksoon) in the hopes that it inspires other to send Christmas cards this year, too.
Why are we sending cards?
Because it feels good. Seriously. Writing little notes to our favorite people reminds us how lucky we are to have them in our lives. Taking the time to send good wishes and holiday greetings makes us feel connected. And picturing someone smiling by their mailbox…see it? Right? The world needs all the love and care we can send out into it.
Also, we love turning on some Christmas music, getting out a stash of new pens and washi tape, and decorating all those envelopes.
When do I start?
Now! The season officially kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, so get that tree up and get your holiday MOJO going!
Are there any rules to this challenge?
Um, sure? Yes? If it makes it seem more official? Here goes:
- This is about spreading joy, not drowning in obligation. Do not stress yourself out. You can send three cards or 30 or 300. They can arrive on time or be adorably tardy.
- Part of the fun is making this one big community party, so you should chat with us on Facebook and share your photos on Instagram. If you use the hashtags #pswritebacksoon and #careenough and we will stalk you and put hearts all over everything you post.
- Of course we think you should send Hallmark cards because, well, our friends made them. But mainly we want you to get in touch with your friends and family. Make cards, buy them, send some from your stash.
- OK, maybe there IS one rule: You MUST hand write or letter or draw your friends’ and families’ names and addresses. You can use pre-printed labels for your return address. But they should get to see their names in your own beautiful or quirky or perfect or charmingly horrible handwriting. We even have tips and tricks to help you make them special!
Let’s do this. Ready?
Christmas Card Challenge Essentials
Here are a few of the things you’ll need to get fully in challenge mode.
- Free printable checklist: Download it, print it, and hang it high. Experience the wonder of checking off tasks as you do them.
- The List: You’ll need names and addresses gathered somewhere. We’ve got some thoughts and tips on this below.
- Cards: So many choices. Will get you get a bunch of boxed cards, or mix in some off the rack? Will there be funny cards and serious ones? Will you get Hanukkah cards for Jewish friends and holiday wishes for folks who don’t celebrate Christmas?
- Pens: This is no time to use the ball point pen from your last hotel stay. You want a pen that feels good in your hand with ink that flows like a dream. Maybe multiple pens in different colors. That’s getting into…
- Decorations: How will you trick out your cards? Special markers? Washi tape and stickers? Set yourself up to have fun.
- Beautiful stamps: Some of us have already ordered ours from USPS, and you guys. The ones from the book The Snowy Day are so cute we can hardly stand it.
Christmas Card Challenge calendar
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday season and let your card-sending tasks get away from you. Easy fix: Build it into the fun.
- Add it to your calendar. Take a peek at the official checklist and block time on your calendar for each task.
- Give yourself a deadline. Do you need to send overseas or Military mail early? Or deliver cards at work or school before vacation starts? Knowing this ahead of time will keep you on the ball!
- Make it a party. We bake cookies and wrap gifts with friends…so why not write cards? Throw a Card Signing party! Set the date and send the invites for a night of crafting, snacks and drinks, and jazzy holiday background music. Maybe pajamas? We’re in! (And we’ll be sharing our own next week.)
- Call in the kids. You can assign age-appropriate duties: Little children can write their first name or apply stickers. Older kids can help with the addressing and write their own notes. How much will people love getting a card from all of you? (A lot. The answer is A LOT.) Schedule a family card night and make it part of your Christmas tradition.
Your Christmas Card List
We admit this can be a little daunting. Who gets cards? What are their addresses? Here are tips from our Hallmark experts:
- Start with a system. Where will you keep your addresses? Everyone has a favorite method. Some go old-school with a paper address book. Others build out the contacts in their phone or computer OS. A few have intricate spreadsheets with years of card sending and receiving history captured in symbols known only to its master. Do what works for you.
- Pick a number. If you need to set limits based on time, budget, or patience, do it without guilt. Decide about how many cards you can send, and make your list fit.
- Go in circles. An easy way to start your list is by groups: immediate family, closest friends, coworkers, extended family, church friends, etc. etc. etc. Start close in and work your way out—unless your goal is to connect with people you don’t see every day. Then do the opposite.
- Get resourceful. Thanks to smart phones and email, who needs addresses any more? Some easy places to get them: Your Mom’s address book. Church directories. An all-call on Facebook or by email. (One friend promised Christmas cards to anyone who would send him their address.) And hey—while you’re at it—might as well get their birthdays and anniversaries, too.
Christmas Card Challenge Resources
We’ve got all sorts of info to help out along the way. Here’s your one-stop shop for holiday greeting questions and ideas.
Inside the card
Our best tips for card and letter writing (not Christmas related—just general ideas for meaningful messages)
Outside the envelopes
Christmas card photos
We know, we know. We can’t wait to get started on our Christmas Card Challenge either! Sign up to receive our emails to help you stay on track. Have fun…and definitely don’t forget to share what you’re up to with us on Instagram and Facebook!