Cutthroat Christmas & My Holiday Card System

Well, it’s officially that time of year again- where we carefully select our best photos from the year to throw on a holiday card and send them out to all our friends and family; most of which have already viewed these photos on social media. Ahh but the wonder and excitement of receiving these cards in the mail is just fanastic. I love finding different ways to display our cards each year and take pride is picking out our new card themes.


I do have some serious rules about my holiday cards to help keep the cost down. Between the cost of the cards plus the rising cost of stamps, this can very easily become a pricey holiday tradition!

  • Hello Drug Store Photo
    • Personally, I always choose photo cards that I can quickly make and pick up the same day at my local drug store. We send out about 80-100 cards each season and 100 stamps alone are quite pricey. I have absolutely nothing against ordering prints online on beautiful card stock and if we sent less cards each year I would happily choose that route.  However ordering 100 cards from those online sites can run you anywhere from $100-200 and that’s not even factoring in the $60-$80 you may spend on stamps. That just doesn’t gel with me. I have gone through my local drug store for my holiday cards for the past three years and each year I am able to locate a cute and festive design that works for me.  More often than not you can catch a pretty great deal. This year I caught a great 50% off sale on my cards and for 80 cards I paid only $25! You read that correctly! $25 for holiday cards this year. I will say I did have a $10 credit but still $35 compared to $100-200 is fantastic!
  • Special Delivery!
    • This may seem cheap to you but if I have holiday cards to mail out to friends that I will see within a week I just hand deliver them.  I know I know, stamps are only 49 cents each but that adds up quickly and if you can cut costs by hand delivering I say go for it. You can even sweeten the deal a bit by bringing over some holiday cookies as well!
  • The List
    • This is where the cutthroat Christmas statement comes in- My List. This started out as a simple spreadsheet to keep track of everyone’s addresses. It was an easier system than using a paper address book and allowed me to update quickly as needed throughout the year. However, as our card recipient list grew, I started realizing that we were sending out almost triple of what we were getting in. Now, it’s not a contest, I completely understand that but we do need to be more realistic here. So here are the rules of the list: If a card is not received within two Christmases from the recipient then they are simply removed from the list. Basically, the first year that goes by where a card is not received after sending out a Christmas card to them, that person is then highlighted in yellow (a warning stage) and then the following year if the same thing occurs then they move to red (eliminated.)

Now, before you get completely offended by my system let me explain. There are certain people who get a pass- any close relatives or work collegues normally get a pass. The people who are normally removed are friends or people who we are no longer as close with. It’s rough, I know, and if you don’t agree and want to send Christmas cards to everyone you have met since 1992 please go right ahead. I don’t have time to address that many envelopes! I have to be honest here, this system has cut my card sending and spending in half.


I’m still happily sending holiday cheer but within budget and that always makes the M Family pockets happy!


Do you have a system? How do you keep the cost down of this pricey Christmas tradition???




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