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Holiday Card Etiquette

Our professional Consultants are trained to assist you with etiquette, item selection, wording, ink color, font and envelope lining selection. We work closely with our customers on their orders for both personal and corporate / organization events. Through the years, our consultants have been collecting and gathering information on invitation and party etiquette. This etiquette guide contains the questions our consultants are most frequently asked by our customers.

Prior to ordering

When should I order my holiday cards?

We recommend ordering your holiday cards early (by the beginning to middle of November)-our holiday cards are available year round.

What should I consider when choosing my holiday cards?

It's always a good idea to select a card that not only shows your personality, but also your sentiments about the holiday season itself. It can also be fun to choose a card that is relevant to where you live. For example, if you live in Hawaii, you could send a card featuring a tropical setting instead of a traditional snowy scene. We offer holiday cards featuring cityscapes from all over the country.

How can I choose a holiday card that is appropriate for all recipients?

There are two options in this case. One option would be to select an item that does not have a specific religious connotation. Some suggestions for neutral designs are winter scenes, snowflakes, animals, or New Year's-themed cards. The second option would be to order two sets of cards-one set with a religious greeting and one set with a neutral greeting.

Who should I include on my holiday card list?

It is always great to include a wide circle of people-the more, the merrier! Holiday cards are a great opportunity to make contact with friends and family who you have not seen or spoken with often enough.

How many holiday cards should I order?

You can use last year's list as a starting point. If you do not have an old list, you can begin with your address book, your wedding invitation list, or a recent party list. From there, you can add and omit names as needed to get a general number.

We highly recommend ordering extras. It is more cost and time efficient to order extra on your original order than to have to place a separate order later. By padding your order, you will be able to accommodate those inevitable last minute additions. Don't forget to consider ordering extra envelopes as well to account for mistakes made while addressing them.

While ordering

What are some guidelines for photo holiday cards?

  • Make sure the photo is a good picture of everyone in the family. Use the best photo you have.
  • Make sure there isn't anything in the background of the photo you don't want to include (we can crop the photos for you in most cases if requested).
  • Consider choosing a card that coordinates with the colors or theme of your picture.
  • Most photo items will require a photo that is at least 4" X 6". The larger the picture, the better the resolution will be, even if we need to resize it for your item.
  • For corporate photo cards, consider using a photo of your product, office, store, or employees. It could be especially nice for clients who do not work face to face with your company to see who they do business with.

View our photo submission requirements here.

Can I see sample wording for holiday cards or invitations?

For help with wording, please visit our sample wording section

Can I have a logo printed on holiday cards or invitations?

We can print logos on any of our holiday cards and invitations for an additional charge. Logo costs may vary. Logos may incur additional charges for screens and other special requirements. View more information on logo costs and options.

Where do I specify the logo when placing my order for holiday invitations or cards?

In the 'Additional Special Instructions' Box at the bottom of Step 1 of the online order form, specify the following:

  • 1. The ink color(s) you would like the logo to be printed in.
  • 2. The specific location you would like us to print the logo on the item (i.e. centered at the top of the card).
  • 3. How you will be submitting your logo. You can submit your logo to us either via e-mail or mail. For more information on how to submit your logo, please click here to view our logo submission requirements.

Should friends who are also business owners or colleagues receive 1 or 2 cards?

If you are friends, you may send a personal card to their house and, if needed, a business card to their business staff in general.

When you receive your order

If I am getting a pre-printed verse on my cards, do I still need to sign every card?

Yes, you should hand sign your name(s), even if you have it typed as well. Otherwise, it will look as if you never laid a hand on your cards. The only exception would be business holiday cards that aren't being sent from a specific person but a business as a whole.

Do I need to include a personal note as well?

It is nice to include a personal note, especially to family members. It is a holiday card, not a letter, so the message can be quick and simple, and you don't have to include specific names (although we do recommend it). Three to four sentences does not take very long to add, but it will make your card that much more enjoyable to receive.

The personal note should be sincere and reflect the same tone as the card and verse. You can share a memory (especially if it is of a past holiday) that involved the recipient, mention a recent visit/future visit with the recipient, or you can pay them a compliment (which is always appreciated). Keep in mind that it isn't considered proper etiquette to apologize for not having more frequent contact over the past year.

What is a holiday newsletter?

A holiday newsletter is an account of events for the past year in your family that may be printed on your holiday card, or on a separate insert. Such events include births, moving, new jobs, new pets, etc.

What are some etiquette guidelines for holiday newsletters?

Holiday Newsletters are wonderful addition to your holiday card to keep friends and family up-to-date on your happenings of the past year. However, there are several things you should keep in mind when writing/sending them:

Newsletters may be printed on the card itself, or on a separate insert.

  • Enclose or print newsletters in holiday cards only to the people you think will be interested.
  • Share only news that is positive and not too personal.
  • Along the same lines, avoid mentioning news in a boastful manner. You do not want the letter to read like a brag sheet.
  • Keep the news simple and humble.
  • Try to keep the letter to one page, and it is nice to write a personal message (one or two sentences is enough) on your holiday card to accompany the letter.
  • Unless your holiday card already features a photo, you might want to include a family picture with the letter.
  • Try to make the letter entertaining. You don't want the recipients to glaze over from boredom. If you have fun composing it, chances are they will have fun reading it!
  • A handwritten salutation and signing each letter individually will personalize it that much more. "Dear Aunt Alice and Uncle Joe" is warmer than a general, "Dear Family and Friends."
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread-typos will only distract the reader from the news. By reading over the completed letter carefully (and it always helps to have a second or even third pair of eyes read it, too), you can avoid embarrassing mistakes.

When should I mail my holiday cards?

The short answer is be-as soon as you have addressed them. Due to the incredibly high volume of mail during the holiday season, mail delivery takes longer. The ideal time would be any time from the day after Thanksgiving through the second week in December. Everyone appreciates receiving an early holiday card, and the first cards of the season always make an impression.

If you must send them later than that, try to mail them by the day before Christmas. If you send them between Christmas and New Year's, it is still acceptable, but it may be best to include a quick apology for being late (or send a New Year's card in lieu of a holiday card). In many countries outside the United States, it is acceptable to send holiday cards through January.

What are some guidelines for addressing holiday card envelopes?

You will want to include your return address (we can print them for you) in case any of the cards are not delivered. Also, this will help your family and friends update the address they have for you if they have misplaced it.

Do not use an apostrophe on the proper name for return addresses.

The Clarks is the plural tense meaning more than one person in the Clark family:

The Clarks
321 Bethany Lane
Bishop, MD 21212

It pays to double check your addresses as it can take weeks for a misaddressed note to be returned to the sender.

  • To a married woman: either Mrs. Jane Smith or Mrs. John Smith is acceptable for formal correspondence, and Jane Smith is fine for informal correspondence.
  • To a married couple: Mr. and Mrs. David Jones for formal correspondence and Jaye and David Jones for informal correspondence.
  • For a married couple where the woman has kept her name: Ms. Jaye Tyler and Mr. David Jones.
  • If the couple lives together, but are not married, their names will be listed on separate lines:

        Ms. Jamie Jackson
        Mr. James Avery
  • To a married woman doctor: Dr. Natasha and Mr. Christopher Elliott
  • To a married couple who are both doctors: either The Drs. Elliott or Drs. Natasha and Christopher Elliott.
  • If there are children under the age of eighteen include first names as:

        Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Anderson
        Sarah and David (or The Anderson Family)
        353 Valley Way
        Sunnydale, CA 99999

What are some special considerations for mailing holiday cards abroad?

First and foremost, you will need to send them early. You should allow a minimum of two weeks for delivery. Make certain that the envelope has been addressed clearly and includes the English name of the destination country. Mark the envelopes, "Airmail." Make sure to include "USA" in your return address. Keep in mind that any decorations (i.e. stickers) on your envelope can delay delivery in some countries.

When should I send thank you notes for holiday gifts, and when is a note necessary?

If the person sending the gift was not present when you received it, you should always send a thank you note. It doesn't have to be long, but you will at least acknowledge the gift so the person knows you received it.

How should we sign our cards?

When sending holiday cards to family and close friends, signing just your first name(s) is appropriate. Situations warranting both first and last names would include holiday cards sent to business colleagues/associates or to someone who provides a service (such as your doctor's office).

When listing children's names, they should be written after the parents' names and in order from oldest to youngest. It is considered proper etiquette to sign the children's names inside the card, not just the parents. This does not apply to adult children who are 18 and older or who are no longer living at home.

What are some basic etiquette guidelines for corporate holiday cards?

  • Order early to avoid the rush. You can begin sending the cards as soon as the day after Thanksgiving.
  • As a general rule, you should try to stay away from holiday cards that are specific to one religion. You want to share a sentiment that is more along the lines of, "Season's Greetings," or "Best Wishes for the New Year."
  • Keep in mind that the card you send is a reflection of your business. You want to stay away from cards that are too cutesy, funny, or otherwise inappropriate (although humor related to a particular industry is accepted if it is the industry you operate in).
  • You should include titles when addressing the envelopes.
  • When possible, try using stamps (preferably one with a holiday design) instead of a postage meter.
  • Business holiday cards are most often sent to the office of the recipient. If you know the recipient on a more personal level, then it is okay to send it to their house. You will need to address the card to their spouse as well, even if you haven't met them.
  • If the card is from multiple people, the name of the person signing the card should be listed last.
  • Usually holiday cards are sent to people to whom you are not giving a gift.
  • It is accepted to have signatures printed as an image on the card.
  • Adding a personal note is important even in the case of business holiday cards. In addition to the company name and/or your name being printed, it is still a good idea to personalize as it makes your clients/colleagues feel appreciated. These messages may be a few sentences expressing your appreciation for the business relationship and best wishes for future success as this is the main time of year to express gratitude for their service, business, and support. You should follow it with your handwritten signature. If only your company name is printed, then you will want to sign your first and last name. If your name is printed, then signing your first name will suffice.
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