This post is brought to you in partnerships with Orajel. All opinions are my own.
Every year I hear the same excuses as to why people don’t mail Christmas cards to their family and friends via USPS snail mail. People often say things like:
“Christmas cards are so much work!”
“It’s just another thing to do during the busy Christmas season.”
“Honestly, sometimes I just forget to do them until after Christmas is over, and then don’t send them because I’m embarrassed to send them so late.”
“People just throw out the cards anyway, so why bother?”
“They are too expensive! There’s the cost of a photographer and/or a studio, buying coordinating outfits for everyone, getting nails and hair done for the pictures, designing the cards, printing the cards, buying envelopes, and paying for the stamps!”
“Digital cards work just as well, and isn’t this why we have Facebook? Everyone already knows what we’ve been up to all year and seen recent pictures of our kids.”
“Christmas cards are a pain to write and put together and to make sure everyone’s address is up to date.”
Honestly, these anti-Christmas Card Senders aren’t wrong. Christmas cards can take up a lot of time and energy, be immediately thrown out once received, and cost a lot of money when all is said and done.
But, these same people will often say that they love receiving Christmas cards, especially picture cards! Some will decorate their home with the cards they receive, scrapbook them, or turn them into a little keepsake book to look at each year. Plus, despite having Facebook and Instagram, they often appreciate the personal and more thorough update on family and friends they don’t see often. Christmas cards is mail they actually look forward to opening and receiving. Some even enjoy the non-photo Christmas cards because they can repurpose Christmas cards into gift tags or other crafts.
We began sending out Christmas cards after we had our twins a few years ago. It was difficult to organize all the addresses, find a cost effective way to get the pictures taken and cards and stamps ordered, especially because we were on a very tight budget. But, even with very little money to spend, we wanted to send out Christmas cards.
Why Send Christmas Cards?
There are six main reasons we send out Christmas cards every year:
1.) We live far away from most of our family and friends and want a fun, beautiful photo Christmas card, scripture, and update letter to send to people in the mail. Despite our efforts to keep in touch, we don’t share everything about our lives on social media or through email or our blog. We feel Christmas cards are a better way to give a real update to all family and friends who may have missed some details, or not had a full understanding at what was going via our social media shares.
2.) Plus, family photo Christmas cards are such a popular and trendy thing to do! We have fun taking the pictures, putting together the card, and writing the letter.
3.) We love receiving them, so why not send our own as well so we can bring that joy to others?
We’ve found the more we send out, the more we seem to receive in return (perhaps because they have our address!). We proudly hang up and display every Christmas card we receive in our home, a tradition I keep from parents. After the holidays are through, we clip out the family photos from the cards and display them in a wire photo hanging picture frame I made all year. We also save the previous years’, writing the dates on them, so we have these family keepsakes. It’s a bit of family and personal history!
4.) Having an excuse to get dressed up and take fabulous pictures of myself and my family, every year, is a huge benefit of doing Christmas cards!
I love beautiful pictures of my family that I get to keep forever! We want to show our family and friends how much our kids have grown and how much we’ve changed. We also are terrible about printing out pictures and hanging them on our wall. The Christmas card we put together is a small printed keepsake of our family. Another great chink in our family history.
I use these tips for good family photos and the last few years we’ve had amazing family photos!
5.) Many of our older relatives are not on Facebook, Instagram, or even do email very well. They only receive updates that they hear through the grapevine or through our yearly Christmas card pictures and letters. Our grandparents have expressed how much they appreciate our cards and the update (and have even said they wished more of their grandchildren did this!).
6.) But, the biggest reason we send out Christmas cards, despite the cost, is because it lets various people know how much they really mean to us.
Sending a Christmas Card lets people know we thought about them enough to hunt down their address and spend the $1 or so on sending them a Christmas card in the mail. There’s nothing “mass” about a hand-addressed card, that we spend money on sending to their physical (not virtual) mailbox. We are letting people know that they mean at least that much to us.
How to Afford Christmas Cards
Like millions of others we found cheaper ways of sending Christmas cards. In the past we got pictures taken from department stores photography studios or through photography deals we found online, took advantage of Christmas card promotions like ordering cards on Cyber Monday, and limited the number of cards we purchased. We also designed the cards ourselves and printed them at a club warehouse or large retailer with photo studios in order to save money on Christmas cards too.
Of course, you could even print your cards/photos yourself at home, especially if you use the HP Instant Ink program which will save you a fortune on the ink to do so!
Christmas cards don’t have to be super complicated or expensive. The matching clothes for the family pictures are often the biggest financial hurdle! If you are willing to forgo being ultra coordinating in your family pictures, you can mail 50 Christmas cards, with stamps, envelopes, and photography fees for less than $100, easily. You can likely do 50 photo cards for about $60 total.
This year, in order to save money, and because our photographer from last year couldn’t do it, we decided to DIY our family pictures! We grabbed our camera, a tripod, and set up the self-timer, and managed to snap out this picture:We’ve also swapped picture taking with friends before too.
Another option is to only send cards to people who don’t live near you, or to hand deliver cards (and save the stamp) to people you see in person regularly.
How to Make Sure Your Christmas Cards are Great
Taking your own pictures, having a friend take them, or going to a cheap indoor studio can sometimes mean subpar family portraits (though not always!) to include on your photo Christmas cards. It can’t always be helped due to your finances preventing you from hiring that amazing local photographer who charges $350+ for a family photo session! So, one of the best things you can do to insure your Christmas cards are great is making everyone brush their teeth before the pictures and practice various tips for getting children to smile for the camera.
Before our latest family photo session, the kids had a little snack (fed kids are happy kids), got dressed, and brushed their teeth with some Orajel toothpaste and toothbrushes really well. You may want to have them brush before getting dressed though in case any toothpaste or water gets on their clothes though. Visit Orajel.com to learn more about the best products to use to ensure your children have a healthy smile for your family’s Christmas cards this year.
Tell me – Do you send Christmas cards in the mail every year? Why or why not?