Christmas is a time of spreading joy and happiness among friends and family. It is a time when
we try to spend time with our loved ones and offer thanks for our health and welfare. We feast
on turkeys and chicken and drink mulled wine and eggnog, invest thousands into Christmas
decorations, Christmas trees and lights and consume gallons of electricity. But most of December is
spent exchanging cards.
Cards come in all shapes, sizes, themes and prices. They can be personal or generic; luxury
or standard; sentimental or friendly; the list goes on. Which card you send highly depends
on your feelings towards the recipient. At Christmas we like to show love to our nearest
and dearest and share jokes with our mates. The card you choose will reflect your feelings.
Have you ever opened an envelope and sighed with disappointment as you open a cheap and nasty
piece of card. That friend puts in no effort –shows how much they care! Well don’t get caught in
this trap. Buy cards that the recipients will be happy to display on their mantle. Cards that say, I
love you, I haven’t forgotten you, thank-you, all of which of course wish them a Happy Christmas.
If you are unsure about printed wording, opt for a blank card and write your own message. It can be
long or short, even resemble a letter if you are writing to an old friend who does not live closely to
However, if you fancy using someone’s words to display your feelings head to the local card
shop. Today, card shops fill up with all sorts of cards offering different themes, messages and
sentiments. You can always add to these messages with your own personal message. Many people
like reading a poem or receiving a card with quotes from the Christmas story.
The answer is to keep the recipient in mind when you are in the card shop. Choose cards that they
appreciate rather than cards which you just happen to like.
Are you worried about your children having tooth decay? Or are you on a diet and feel that a
chocolate a day is like a carrot in front of a donkey; a cruel tease. Think about creating a calendar
masterpiece on the computer.
You can use many different programs because the idea is a simple one and should not take a long
time depending on how adventurous you are feeling.
All you need to do is create or download a large Christmas scene or image. You need to then mark
out twenty four squares on the image. These squares can be all different sizes, but make sure they
are well spaced out as they will become the templates for your doors. You need to insert numbers
on each of the doors. If this is tricky on the software you are using, wait until you have printed it and
then number the doors by using a pen.
You then need to print the front of your calendar on a piece of stiff paper or card. You need to cut
around three sides of each of the boxes to create flaps that can be folded back to create doors.
Then you need to print another copy of your original image with the boxes marked out. Have a
scour about for old Christmas cards and cut out images. You can find images on the net too. Stick
one of these images on each of the squares. These will be the pictures you see when you fold back
the door. You can put whatever you like behind the doors of your calendar.
Finally, stick the two sheets together to finish your calendar. The boxes you cut out should have the
little pictures behind them ready to be revealed in the run up to Christmas.
Attach some string and hang us somewhere to show off. Even better you can crack out the glitter
and the curly ribbon and make your calendar into even more of a master piece.
When it comes to cards for intimate family, many of us do not tend to buy a box of Christmas cards and be done with it. Instead we traipse around the shops with the intention to buy personal cards individually. We do this partially because we want to show our loved ones that they are worth the trip to town and the fight with the Christmas shoppers as well as the cost of the individual card. We also do this because it is expected and you’re Mum will be pretty upset if she has a standard card from the same box as second cousin Jan.
Card shops offer a whole host of cards addressed to Mums, Dads, Sisters and Brothers. In addition within their own little section, the themes of each card are vast. You can find personalized musical cards, humorous ones, and religious cards, soppy or sentimental cards. You can even find ones with badges. Some are luxury and others are more basic; whatever your family is like; you will be sure to find them a card they like.
The price of individual cards can vary and on a whole they are likely to cost you more than a simple box. The advantage of buying them is that you can buy your Grandma a card that sends God’s blesses and Christmas and you can send your brother one which tells a joke. You are unlikely to find a box of cards to cater for your family’s varying tastes and humor. If you are on a budget think ahead and purchase cards in the January sales.
Many card shops take on a hue of red for the Christmas season. Gone are the days where the only cards you could buy were blank or for immediate family; you can now buy them addressed to ‘the whole family’, ‘the two of you’ from ‘the both of us’, ‘to sister-in-law’ to ‘brother and sister-in-law’ to ‘daughter and her girlfriend’; even the family pet. There is no reason not to give personalized cards to everyone in your household this year.
There are a few simple rules that can help point you in the direction of being a Christmas card
champion this year. No one likes to receive cheap and nasty cards that are late and shoddy so here
is what to remember.
Firstly buy your cards early especially if you want run of the mill quality and design. Christmas cards
are in the shops from October so you should really buy them when you see them. This is when you
have the most choice and can purchase cards you like which are good quality and at the right price.
If you leave the purchasing of your cards until closer to Christmas you might be in for a shock. You
might find the shelves empty bar the cheap cards that no one wants to buy or the really luxurious
expensive variety which are not what you are after (given the current state of our wallets especially).
Buy your stamps early. There is Christmas cut offs for postage of Christmas cards and gifts. Make
sure that you have an idea when these dates are and be aware that they are often different for
different classes of postage. Remember that the later you leave it the longer your card will take to
be delivered so post them early and well before the deadlines.
Remember to use a nice pen. There is nothing worse than a card that has been addressed with a
biro that is at the end of its life. Add colour and use a pen which is gold or red to keep in with the
festive spirit. At the very least, make sure you have plenty of ink.
Choose designs to suit your recipients and don’t choose the tiniest cards on the market. Some cards
look so insignificant a mouse’s sneeze could send them to space they are so light. Choose good
quality cards with an impressive design if you can. You might even consider making your own; these
are sure to stand out.
Finally, don’t be afraid to address your cards formally. Not only will it help the postman it will look
considerate to the recipient.
That’s it. You come home from work, flick the play button on the cheesy Christmas DVD and you
sit with your mulled wine with the intention to prepare your Christmas cards. With the exception of
looking up contacts, and reading this article, ban the laptop.
Technology is relied upon by many of us in simple day to day tasks. Downtime means no work can
be done, emails cannot be checked and friends cannot be messaged.
This Christmas don’t send Christmas emails or e-cards – keep it old school and dust off your
address book. People don’t get much other than marketing leaflets, newsletters and the odd bank
statement through the post any more (oh, and internet shopping of course). In truth though, many
of these people, like you and i suffer from a bout of childish excitement when we see a letter drop
on our mat that doesn’t fall into any of these categories. It usually happens most in December – and
we love it!
So now you have banned the laptop, dig out the fountain pen. Remember those quill like ink
contraptions we used at school? They are perfect for writing your Christmas messages. Not only
are they comfortable, your writing will look neat. Take your time and take pride in your handwriting
when you address your cards.
When you write out the addresses of your friends and family, address young boys as Master and
young ladies as Miss. Always use Mr and Mrs or Miss for adult cards. We rarely get to write
these titles so why not revert to a little tradition this Christmas. Everyone loves a little formality
Make sure you don’t just write your cards in a ‘to’ ‘from’ style. Yes, the card will probably
have ‘Merry Christmas’ printed on the inside, but it won’t hurt you to write a personal wish to the
recipient alongside. Your friends and family love that you took the effort to send a card; but they
will be disappointed if they weren’t worth a small message.
Throughout history the celebration of Christmas has been created and molded into the celebration
we have today. In fact many aspects of Christmas such as the hanging of mistletoe date back to
During Queen Victoria’s reign however, Christmas became to look a lot like the festival that we
celebrate today. Looking in particular at Christmas cards, they maintained a tradition that was to
sweep the globe.
The Victorians introduced the idea of posting cards to friends and family at Christmas time.
The ‘Penny Post’ made this possible for many people to take part in the activity (soon to be
tradition). This ‘Penny Post’ was essentially the Christmas post. It cost one penny for a penny
stamp that would allow a card or letter to be delivered anywhere within Britain. This made sending
Christmas greetings easier and novel.
This then gave the green light for the greeting card tradition to be born. Sir Henry Cole then
commissioned the first Christmas card in the 1840s which proved to be very popular indeed.
By the 1870s the ‘Penny Post’ was replaced by a postage that cost only half a penny. This was
largely thanks to Brunel and his creation of the railway network meaning post could be delivered
more quickly and cheaply than ever before. And so the Christmas card tradition was born.
Today we send our cards in mass by airmail, email, Royal Mail and even still by hand. The tradition
is one which allows greetings to be sent from friends and family to loved ones, colleagues, local
businesses and neighbors. Many people will include letters and photos and so the tradition of
sending letters is still alive behind the facade of the card.
In the 1800s it appears cards were even delivered on Christmas day. In addition, it seems that the
common picture of a robin delivering a card was derived from the postmen themselves who wore
red and were consequently named Robbins.
The Victorians have a lot to be thanked for as they gave us so much down to the industrial
revolution. This Christmas spare them a thought when you pop your cards in the post box.
December is one of the most exciting months of the year. When you are an adult they are fun but
they go too fast but when you are young it seems an eternity before you are allowed to touch that
first door on your advent calendar.
Advent calendars have been around for a long, long time and were initially printed. The first of this
kind was printed by a chap called Gerhard Lang in Munich. This revelation was made in the early
1900s. No longer did children have to make do with candles or time lines.
It took people some forty or fifty years to realize what was missing from these printed calendars too.
Partially thanks to the great wars and rationing, people were ready to indulge in those things that
were not readily available by the time the fifties made an appearance.
The 1950s saw the emergence of the first chocolate calendars which resemble those that are sold on
the high street today.
Now we celebrate the countdown to Christmas with a chocolate advent calendar which is foil fresh,
attractive and fun. Advent calendars come in all different shapes and sizes. Whether you want a
picture of a celebrity, a Christmas cartoon, a traditional scene or decorations, there is bound to be a
design that suits you.
Think about having a calendar at work. This is something that might help December trundle along
quite nicely, not only will it make your desk festive, it will mean you get that elevenses chocolate
everyday for twenty four days.
If you do not fancy a gaudy design but rather indulgent chocolate, look to more luxurious
chocolate retailers. This might be more pricey than those readily available next to the checkout
in the local shop but they will offer extravagant designs and melt in the mouth chocolate.
Calendars can be as expensive or as cheap as you choose. There is such a host available on the
market that the choice is yours. The best thing though is that ladies, ditch your diets, it’s the only
time of year you can prescribe yourself a daily dose of cocoa without feeling the guilt.
I remember charity cards used to carry with them a little bit of a tree hugging stigma; they were
drab, had the cause plastered all over them and were made out of poor quality paper. Let that be a
thing of the past.
Charity Christmas cards allow people like you and me to support a good cause in the process of
sending Christmas wishes to loved ones. Let us face it; you intend to send cards and probably ninety
nine percent of the box will end up in the recycle bin. Why not buy cards that allow a donation to be
made to a good cause this Christmas time.
With the world hooked on global warming, the environment and doing good for others, charities
have less of a stigma and more people are willing to put their name to a card produced by a
charitable cause. As a generation brought up with Live Aid and Pudsey the Bear, we are not afraid to
back up Oxfam and let others know we do too.
The cards on offer by charities can be very attractive. Gone are the days when they looked cheap
and cheerful, these days you can barely tell your charity cards from your commercial ones.
In addition many people want to appear to be thoughtful and supporting a good cause, particularly
in the work place where colleagues are likely to take kindly to this social responsibility you display.
Charitable Christmas cards are available from so many places too. They are often available in your
local Christmas department among the luxury commercial cards. If you want to support a specific
cause then head to the charity’s outlet or approach them directly for information on where you can
purchase their Christmas card range.
At the end of the day, Christmas is about giving and spreading happiness. Even if you don’t get round
to contributing anything else this Christmas think about helping out a charitable cause in the process
of buying your cards this year. Think about it – it may as well be in the pocket of a charity than a big
Families are precious however big or geographically challenged they are, Christmas is traditionally a
time to check in with your loved ones and spread some festive cheer. Christmas cards are a lovely
way of expressing your love at the most wonderful time of the year. They can however, sometimes,
be a little unimaginative.
Aunty Jude will have one thousand and one Christmas cards which show a lovely picture of a robin
red breast thumping on her door mat this December. She will probably have another couple of
hundred cards showing Santa ready to plunge down a chimney (OK, I exaggerate but you get the
picture). As lovely as these cards might be they are all pretty much the same.
Think about creating a family photo card this year – so that Aunty Jude can display her family on the
mantel proudly. A photo card says that you care enough to let family have a little memento for their
scrapbook at a very busy time of the year.
They can be time consuming but not if you prepare early. Gather the children and line them up like
the Von Traps before attacking each of them with a hair brush and a new outfit. Then crack out the
camera. This might take a little time, especially if you want a photo that is flattering of every family
member as well as the dog. Maybe set aside a Sunday afternoon for this one.
Once you have your photo then you can create your card. Go to town with ribbon and stickers
and glitter. It’s Christmas after all. This added decoration will make your efforts look so much
more attentive and will stretch the grin on Aunty Jude’s face at least an extra few centimeters.
Now photo cards aren’t as much trouble as you think – how about getting a company to print your
card for you, or at least the photo bit. You can take your memory stick into a local chemist or photo
shop or even upload the images and wait until they land on your doormat.
Go on, make Aunty Jude smile this December.
So your company is going to be mega busy this Christmas. Your product is going to practically go
and sit under a Christmas tree by itself and no household will be complete without it. Even if your
product is a little less specific to Christmas or gift-friendly, it is the time of year when people are out
and about being busy so you’d have to search hard to find a company that isn’t busy at Christmas.
Think about it – Christmas and everyone is out and about. Why not send out business cards with
your customer Christmas greetings or even better combine the two?
Have a card printed that is specific to your firm. Ensure it is attractive, good quality and stands
out. Your customers need to receive a card that is going to grasp their attention, be honest how
many of us see the name of a firm and stick it on the card string without glancing at it again.
Think about designing a card that integrates a voucher code or promotion. This means your card
might even avoid the recycle bin. People will be happy to read what you are offering as a Christmas
In addition make sure you personalize your card – send them to your clients at home and address
them correctly. If you have the time, hand-write messages, at least for your most prominent clients.
Ensure that spellings are accurate and that they arrive well before the last post. Steer clear from
cheap stamps too… this is all about making a good impression.
Make sure you plaster your contact details on the card. The client might be interested for a second
but that second will pass if they cannot immediately see where they can efficiently take any
inquiries forward. Direct them to your webpage or give them a name of the person to phone. It’s
all about last minute sales (as well as wishing your clients a happy Christmas of course).