Ah, holiday card season – AKA – just about the only time of year when my mailbox consists of more than just bills, magazines and spam. I love the timeless tradition of sending holiday cards, and in 2020, I figured the more holiday cheer I could send, the better. So, I multiplied my mailing list about fifteen times over, and created a template to build my first official holiday card list from scratch.
After graduating college, I decided to start sending holiday cards to old roommates and friends that I couldn’t see in person as often as I would’ve liked to. I’ve always loved handwritten notes, so I picked up some blank holiday cards from Papyrus and wrote out each note myself.
There were only about twenty households on my list, but it still took at least three or four hours to write, stuff/stamp/seal and mail those cards.
I took pictures of each envelope before mailing them, so that I could find my makeshift list of recipients and addresses the following year. I’m not too proud of this methodology, but hey, we all have our own systems that we try to make work, right?
This year, I decided to do things a bit differently.
After working with so many clients to generate mailing lists for wedding and event invitations, I drafted a template in Google Sheets that I knew would be accepted by most stationers, with little to no adjustments needed.
This template is super easy to use. It creates one central location to keep your mailing list organized, but it serves other functions as well.
The manual entry may seem daunting, but once you grab a cup of coffee and starting building your list, it becomes super turnkey. Here’s why:
– “Title” column can be used for professional titles, degrees or salutations like Mrs. or Mr.
– Separate cells for the first and last name allows you to easily locate people on your list and make updates.
– The “List” column is your own personal safety net to make sure you haven’t forgotten anyone! Assign a category to each entry, like Family, Friends, Work, Neighbors, etc. This way, you can always use Google Sheet’s “sort by” function to identify anyone that’s missing from one of your groups!
– The “Email” column simplifies your life for next year. All you’ll need to do is copy & paste the column into an email, or an address app like Postable, to keep your list fully up to date.
– “Status” gives you a location to write whether an entry is complete, or missing information (like a new address for a friend that’s about to move).
Once you’ve found a stationer to work with, ask for their mailing list template, and do a quick compare & contrast. I always remove the “List,” “Email,” and “Status” columns, which are used for my own organizational purposes, not to be printed on the envelope.
Before signing off on the final product, ask to see a digital proof of the addresses, so that you can run through the formatting with a fine tooth comb, and ensure all of the information is correct.
The Post Office
Once you’ve received your holiday cards (YIPEE!) take one card and envelope to the post office to have it weighed before purchasing stamps, to make sure you buy the correct postage value.
Then you can assemble those holiday cards, and head back to the post office with all of your holiday cheer in tow.
For domestic mailing in the United States, request that your cards are mailed as “flats” using the First Class Mail Flat rate, not as “letters.” Also request that the cards are hand canceled, instead machine handling, which can damage the envelopes.
Download the free template below!