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Blog: Surfing the Paper Wave
Holiday Cards

Over the years, I have developed a system for handling Christmas cards that works very well for my family and me.
I create a card on 8 ½ by 11" paper that is a greeting card on one side and a family newsletter on the other. The greeting card side is set up so it works when the paper is folded in three: a picture on the outside, usually of an angel; a warm greeting about Christmas and the new Year on the inside, and a blank back, like this:
  1. Set your page format to Landscape.
  2. Divide the paper in three panels.
  3. Put the greeting on the left panel and it winds up on the inside. I put a note at the bottom that says "Open to find our family letter."
  4. The center panel stays blank, and becomes the back of the card.
  5. The picture goes on the right panel and becomes the front of the card.
You can do this in a word-processing program or a greeting card program.  I usually find a clip-art angel I like for the picture on the front.
The letter contains a paragraph about each family member.  We "sign" the card using a script font, but you could hand sign them if doing this is meaningful to you.
I set up a sample copy showing exactly the layout I want and take it to a local copy center, where I have it reproduced as a two-sided copy on red paper, then tri-folded by machine.  This second step adds a penny or two per copy, but the aggravation it saves is well worth the extra money.  Black ink on red paper makes a nice effect.  You could change the paper color or even do colored ink on white paper.  (Note that color copies cost more.)
I use standard white #10 envelopes, but colored or decorated ones would work, too.  I buy postage stamps in a Christmas motif to add color.
Several years ago, I went to the big initial effort of setting up my Christmas address labels on a template in my word processing program, and I've never regretted it.  I have several sheets of Christmas card recipients, one page of labels for friends who celebrate Hanukkah (separated because Hanukkah often falls a different week than Christmas) and—my newest time-saver--a page of labels for the people to whom I know from experience we'll be sending Christmas thank-you notes.  I also print enough return address labels for all the cards I'll be sending.
My husband and I review this list in late October for any changes that have occurred since last Christmas.  From this list, I count and buy the needed postage before the holiday rush begins.  During the Christmas season, as we receive news of births, deaths, marriages and address changes, we update the list for future use.
I used to address all the Christmas cards myself, but even with all the pre-printed labels, it was a tedious process.  Last year, I stumbled on a new system I absolutely love: My two college-age children and I have an addressing marathon in the car as we ride to Thanksgiving dinner an hour away: one of us does the address labels, one the stamps and one the return addresses.  By the time we arrive at our destination, the envelopes are ready to go!
Whether your holiday is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice – or even if you send a lot of cards at some other time of year—I hope these ideas will make the process easier, more enjoyable and less expensive for you.

posted on: 12/9/2007 10:30:00 AM by Suzanne Kuhn
category: Paper

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Surfing the Paper Wave

by Suzanne Kuhn

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About Suzanne:

Suzanne Kuhn is the owner of ACE ORGANIZING, offering affordable, customized, energizing organizing solutions to homes, schools and small businesses in the five-county Philadelphia area and central New Jersey. Although an organizing generalist, (she'll organize anything!) Suzanne has a growing specialty in paper and electronic filing systems and financial organizing. To receive her FREE booklet, 50 TOP TIME MANAGAGEMENT TIPS, email her at [email protected]

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