If desperation is the mother of invention, I’m pretty sure procrastination is a second cousin. And I’m suffering from both.
It’s already the end of November and I still haven’t made up my mind if I’m going to send holiday cards or not.
You know, with 3 teenagers vying for their gotta-have-it gifts and plans to travel out of town, our budget is already stretched a little thin. And can we talk about how few hours there seems to be in the day at this time of year?
To make this holiday card thing happen I’ll need to:
- Coordinate clothes and beg/threaten/bribe my better half and kiddos to smile for a photo.
- Spend hours selecting the perfect holiday greeting, font and layout.
- Compile a list of all those who must and should receive a holiday card.
- Get the right number of cards printed, plus extras, because I’ll always remember a handful of extra should-be-on-my-list-ers after I print my cards.
- Buy stamps.
- Sign and stuff ‘em.
- Drop them off at the post office and hope that I haven’t forgotten anyone, I got the postage right and that they all get there in time to express my sincere holiday sentiments.
I know it’s not a particularly hard list, but the cost and time alone just adds another layer of stress to an already strapped-for-time season. There has to be an easier way! This year, try spreading a little cheer that is both budget-conscious and time-friendly.
7 Holiday Cards and Creative Alternatives
Use a Mailing Service
Many online photo companies offer mailing services at a price that can save you both time and money. This option doesn’t allow you to hand-sign or include a personal note, so if you chose this option, consider following up with a quick phone call during the holidays or after the first of the year.
Send Post Cards
If including a handwritten note is more your style, and you’ve got a lengthy list, consider sending post cards instead of the traditional holiday cards.
Postage for postcards is a full 15 cents cheaper than a holiday card sent first-class mail. Sites like Vistaprint offer 50 full-color glossy postcards for $10!
Make a Video
Instead of holiday cards, consider recording a video of your family wishing those you love a happy holiday season. Sing a favorite Christmas carol, read a story, tell jokes or just express your heart-felt sentiment. So much more personal than a card and fun to make too!
You could make one video and share it with everyone or create shorter personalized messages for your close family and friends.
Make a Donation
This time of year is a great time to give back to your community or pay it forward.
Instead of spending money on holiday cards and postage, consider making a donation to a good cause on behalf of each person on your list.
Some nonprofits will even send out a thank you to those for whom you have donated. But if you chose this option, consider following up with a quick email to let those on your list know how much they mean to you. Be sure to include a link to the cause.
Just Call Them!
I like getting things in the mail, but honestly, a phone call and the opportunity to catch up and laugh with those I love is so much better.
Skip the stamps and spend a few minutes being present and in the moment with each person on your list.
Wait Until After the New Year
Often we all find we have more time (and money) after the first of the year. And there is nothing that says a holiday card must come in December! Give yourself some time, shop the great late-season sales for some beautiful winter cards and use your cards to extend your good wishes for the New Year!
Next Year…Start Early!
Some of the best sales on pre-made cards and online photo cards often come at the beginning of fall. Put a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to start earlier next year.
It won’t necessarily help us out this year, but it might make next year a little less stressful!