Christmas Card Etiquette

It’s the holiday season and a great time to gather with family and friends that are near to us. However, for those that are farther away or those that you just might not see during the holidays, exchanging of Xmas cards has become a popular tradition.

Receiving a card in the mail, even just for a brief moment allows us to think about friends and family.  There are some rules to oblige by when sending and receiving cards, which of course we identify below. Enjoy.

Christmas Card Etiquette

e-greetings don’t count – it’s just lazy

No personal messages longer than a paragraph – To all those that write a novella on their past 365 days, no one cares.  We simply want to hear that you are healthy, doing well and one or two points of interest like an exciting vacation or a personal achievement.  Make us read through 5 pages of how great your children are is just nauseating.

Photos of children / family only – We all enjoy seeing your children grow throughout the years, it’s part of the fun of receiving Xmas cards. But unless children or grandchildren are in the card, just send a boxed Christmas card.  It is creepy for middle aged husbands and wives to send a picture of themselves.  One exception: photos of newly weds is acceptable.

Also, Xmas cards with photos of the children at the beach have become quite popular, if doing so be sure that no bikini photos of your teenage daughters make it to the card.  This is a not a normal way to showcase your family.

What about Pets? – What about them? No, you should not include pets in your Christmas photo.  Yes, you can include their name on the signature line.  Would you like to see my fish on the card? Probably not.  So I really don’t want to see your bird, cat or rat.  I know this will offend many people as they consider pets part of the family. That’s great, I am glad you consider them your family.  However those on your Xmas list most likely do not.

Edit & Proofread your cards – everyone takes both good photos and bad photos.  Be sure to find the best photo and use the basic tools to enhance the image.  Tools such as red-eye reduction or brightness will help enhance the photo.  The last thing you want is to have your son look like the son of Satan. Also, thoroughly review the photo for anything inappropriate that might offend your family and friends.  Remember the Elaine Bennis nip slip?

Give to Get – if you would like to be part of someone’s Xmas card list then be sure to start sending them a card as well.  This is the simplest of rules to follow.

Timing: sending cards – some like to say send right after Thanksgiving, others will say any time before Christmas.  The reality is anytime before Valentine’s Day is acceptable.  Understand that there is always something going on around the holidays and you may not be the first thought on a friends mind.  Accept that fact and move on.

Timing: keeping cards – I simply use the Seinfeld rule of thumb – three days minimum  then feel free to keep longer or toss.

No Dorky Family Photos – yes it may seem fun to dress the family as reindeer with matching sweaters, but do you really want to be marked as that weird family.  I don’t think so.  If these dork shots have become a family tradition that’s fine and continue down this path but be sure not to use this photo for your Xmas card.  Remember these may live on for years.

See below photos for examples.

The execution on these homemade costumes is admirable.  Photo: Courtesy / SL

You get the idea that this was Dad's dumb idea that everyone was forced to suffer through. Careful -- that fire's a little close for comfort.  Photo: Courtesy / SL

Nothing says Christmas like floating heads!For more awkward fun check out AWP's latest book, Awkward Family Pet Photos, now a New York Times bestseller. Photo: Courtesy / SL

[Image: daily-dos-12242010_full.jpg]





9 thoughts on “Christmas Card Etiquette

  1. Thought of you writing a post about this the other day when I got a loaded christmas newsletter! Had lots of details like bladdder conditions & mental disorders!! (thankfully….they are not a blood relative to me!)

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