Thursday, October 7, 2010

8 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make With Your Holiday Cards

Although the holidays are still a bit away, now is the time to jump on your holiday cards. Try to avoid the "Top 8 Mistakes" I list below, and you'll thank me later!

1. Waiting to place your order 

Paperly’s holiday designs are available now! Buying today means you receive the newest designs all-the-while avoiding any unforeseen delays that may occur later in the season. Plus, when you add together all the steps in the ordering process – proof, production and shipping – it can be a bit before you actually receive your personalized holiday card.

2. Hoping for the perfect family picture 

The kids are always going to be tired. The dog isn’t going to cooperate. And someone will close their eyes when the picture is being taken. Don’t fret; just keep trying. Digital cameras are great because you can simply delete the bad pictures and start afresh. Try to take the picture at a time of the day that you know your kids are going to be in a good mood. Line-up a neighbor or a friend if you plan to take a family photo. Although scheduling an appointment with a professional photographer can be daunting, it is often worth the additional stress and expense because the photos typically come out wonderful.

3. Portrait card, landscape picture 

Whichever you do first – take the picture or purchase your holiday card – be sure you match orientation. If taken as a portrait, no matter how great the picture is, it will not fit a holiday card that is landscape oriented.

4. Starting your list from scratch 

A guaranteed way to embarrass yourself is to forget to send a holiday card to a friend or family member. To prevent this, don’t start your list from scratch year-to-year. Instead, use last year's list as a starting point. If you don't have last year’s list, start with your address book, your wedding invitation list, a recent birthday party list, etc.

5. Writing all your cards in one night

You might envision sharing a cup of hot cocoa around a warm fire with your family, leisurely writing and addressing your holiday cards. Get over it; that isn’t going to happen. We’re all pressed for time, so don’t delay. You can start addressing envelopes today, even before you get your cards finalized. (A great time saver is to have your return address pre-printed on your envelopes or purchase pre-printed return address labels.) Then, start writing a few cards each day during October and November. Worse case scenario and you run out of time, don't worry – most people are pleased to hear from you no matter when your card arrives. Alternatively, skip the Christmas/Hanukkah “deadline” entirely by sending a New Year's card.

6. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (I think) 

Mrs. Manners probably has a hard time keeping up with today’s complicated marriage situations. Check and recheck names before addressing your envelopes. For example, do your recently married friends use the same last name or different last names? 

7. Needing 100, but having 75 

There are always last minute additions to your mailing list. Order a few more cards than your original estimate. It is always less expensive to order extras with your initial order than to place a second order.

8. Not enough postage 

If you include separate photos and notes alongside your holiday card, you may be surprised at how much the whole package weighs. Before mailing it, weigh it at the Post Office. Otherwise, you run the risk of having all your holiday cards returned because of inadequate postage.

(P.S. A great time saver is to buy your stamps online from the U.S. Postal Service. Buy your holiday stamps early; sometimes they run out of special issues.)

Hope you find these tips helpful!

Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

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