Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Christmas organisation week 11 - Christmas cards

Where do I start?  As you know, writing and sending Christmas cards can be a bit of a faff! However I have some suggestions to give you about Christmas cards which might be helpful to you.  You might already do these things, but if not I hope they help!

Have a card cull

We all have bulging address books full of friends, relatives, work collegues and acquaintances.  Chances are you send Christmas cards to most of them if not all. We all know someone who still sends cards to someone they met once on holiday about 20 years ago or some long lost auntie's brother's cousin's parrot! They usually don't even get one back!  Sending cards to so many will not only give you a sore hand, but with the price of stamps it will put a dent in your pocket too.  Do yourself a favour, go through your address book and make a list of those people you absolutely MUST send cards to, forget everyone else.  Be ruthless, and don't worry about offending anyone, it is only a Christmas card!  Besides, if you read on I'm going to give you some possibly cheaper alternatives to sending cards for those people who don't survive the card cull! Before I carried out my own cull I had about 40 cards to send.  I have now cut that by more than half

How to buy quality cards cheaply/save money on cards

We are a bit late to be using this tip, but it will come in handy for next year at least.  Do you go to the January sales? If you do just pop into a shop that sells cards and viola!  Chances are you can get their best/luxury cards at least half price.  If you are willing to wait it out until the very end of the sales you can even get 75% off!  I do it every year and I am always complemented on the lovely cards I send!  In addition, should I have any left over cards I put them in a box with previous years unused cards.  That way I always have spares and once I accumulate enough it means I don't have to buy cards the following year!  You'd be surprised how many people I know throw away cards they haven't used because they don't want to use old cards next year! MADNESS!!  If you know others like this don't be proud, offer to take their old cards and you can use them!  Why not swap your left over cards with another thrifty friend if you don't want your old ones?

Christmas card alternatives

There really are about a million alternatives.  Here are just a few. For those who don't make the Christmas card list why not send an email?  I don't just mean a bog standard email though...

  • Why not make a Christmas catch-up newletter to send out?  You can include some festive pics, family pics and tell them about what you and the family have been getting up to.  Make a standard one and you can personalise it slightly to suit who you are sending it to  if you can be bothered.  This will save you a stamp and also seem like you've spent a lot of time on it when in fact you can knock one up in a very short space of time!  
  • Why not make your own e-card to send out? Have your kids draw some Christmas cards which you can scan into the computer or use your own festive images then edit it into an e-card by adding some text?  Not only cute but very personal.  You could even do a video message if that suits you better!  Get force your kids to dress up and make them say or sing something festive! BOOM! You're done!
  •  No newsletter or e-cards. Just email everyone and let them know that instead of sending cards you are donating to charity.  Not many people can argue with that! 
  • Do not send cards to everyone at work.  If you feel you have to, put one card in the staff room addressed to everyone. 

Save money on stamps

When you do get around to buying your Christmas cards, size is important!  For the love of God do not buy large cards if you plan on posting them, unless you are happy to pay a small fortune!  Only buy them for those who you plan to hand deliver to!  Imagine if you had large cards for say 50 people, it would cost you £45 to post them 1st class and £34.50 for 2nd class*!

In addition, it  absolutely pays to write your cards early.  I've already written mine and this means I'll be able to post them early enough to use only 2nd class stamps.  It isn't a chore to write them early, and you don't even have to do it in one go. Have them handy in an easily accessible place and any time you have a spare 5 minutes write some.  Even if it is just a couple, you'd be surprised how quickly you'll be done.  Please don't send them late as chances are they still won't arrive on time, even if you have spent extra on 1st class.  I can't tell you the amount of cards I get arriving after Christmas, all with a 1st class stamp on.  I'm sorry but if my decorations are already down it is probably going straight into the recycling!  So essentially you have just thrown money in the bin!

Lastly, did you know that you can easily buy discounted stamps online?  Click here for just one of the websites I found!  The discounts may not seem huge, but every penny counts!

The most radical solution

Don't send ANY cards at all.  Not a single one. No alternatives either. If you are happy to do this you can save yourself a lot of time and money!  Not many people are brave enough to do it, are you?

Well that is it!  It is mostly all common sense, and I'm sure a lot of you already do these things but hopefully I've suggested something here you haven't thought of!  If you haven't already you can learn more about my week by week Christmas organisation plans HERE!

Next weeks topic: Christmas shopping - when, where, how?

*stamp prices taken from the Royal mail website


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