Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So, Christmas cards

I had my Christmas workshop at the church last night and it was a disaster in terms of attendance.

Even now, I'm still very disappointed in the turnout especially since it could have been awesome if we had more people.

Nevertheless, doing all the prep and updating the Christmas Planner I give to clients at this time of year has got me revved up and raring to go.

I learnt a couple of things at last night's session that surprised me:

1. nobody sends Christmas cards anymore (actually, I lie. I did know this because I send probably 3 - 4 times as much as I get. A friend and I are going to keep track this year, just for fun. Please don't change your normal behaviour for my benefit - you will skew the results :))

2. people are scared to tell their families they want to create their own traditions so they go along with the plans, but don't enjoy the rushing around and the stress

3. one guy told me I'm not the "homeschooling type. that's got nothing to do with Christmas but it made me laugh. I should have told him that I'm actually very crunchy and granola :)

4. people spend a lot more on gifts than we do (actually, I knew this too. One of the commenters over at Simple Mom said something like "we're being really frugal this Christmas and have limited ourselves to $1000. I thought, "R8000? I would never spend that!" I would probably not even spend R2500. Then again we plan carefully the whole year.)

Do you relate to any of these points? 

Agree, disagree? 

Onto the Christmas cards... I made my list of people to send cards to this year.

I know I should keep the list in excel or something but there's nothing quite like a handwritten list for me.

Last year I made a rule to not buy anymore Christmas cards til my stash was used up. It was hard, so very hard, because I love stationery and my drawer is always full of cards.


newly organised as of Saturday evening

Well, after counting up all the names and checking my stash, I still didn't need to buy any but I bought a set of 8 standard-sized cards to make it easier to post overseas.

I still have about 20 - 30 left, but they're all odd sizes. The photos are printed although I have to go get a bit more done.

I write all the addresses on the cards or just the names if I'm going to see the people and then I start the process.

At the moment I have 21 names - I'm sure I'll remember a couple more as I go along. So far exactly 1 is done.

The kids are helping by writing their own messages in the cards too. I'll take a picture when they do their next batch.

I've decided this is one of our traditions. I'm a card-writing person, big-time, and already the kids love to come "write their names" while sitting on my lap in the study.

yellow basket from Pep (about R22)

from the front - one overseas card addressed
from the side - excuse the flash. If I waited for daylight to get any photos done, we'd still be waiting two months later and I'm letting go of excuses and perfectionism!

So that's me for now. The aim is to get about a third done this week, some more on the weekend and finish them by end November.

Do you do Christmas cards? Only for overseas people or for locals too? Do you revise your list every year according to who gave you a card? ;)

PS Tomorrow is my performance appraisal, the last one (for now - look at me, all optimistic) with my boss.


  1. I have NEVER done Christmas cards in my life! I usually text, or FB or even call. However, I would like to be proper this year and so I'm going to be doing it for the first time ever. Was going to make them from scratch. Changed my mind as it can become a bit expensive (and I haven't planned properly) so I'm going to just buy some at Clicks or wherever. I would like to finish them in the next two weeks along with gifts.
    In terms of no 1, there are many people who don't send cards but there are are many people who do send them so it's difficult to say.
    In terms of no 2, I do have my own little traditions but I still eat with my family. I have ZERO desire to cook and rush around. WRT your no 3, I think I'm rather granola too, though I couldn't possibly homeschool. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
    I couldn't relate to your 4th point. I only buy gifts for my kids and something small for Lance. Maybe.
    I put my list onto excel along with other Christmas planning. I'm giving cards to whoever I feeling like giving, doesn't matter whether they gave me one in previous years or not, and this year it's only for locals.

  2. I do Christmas cards. I have all my adult life. I send out many more than I receive, but I don't let that deter me. Last year was the first year I cut out writing messages to everyone. I felt guilty but with the girls it was just one more thing I was struggling to get done. Now most people will only get a picture card with the generic happy holidays from us.

    I am in the very same not spending boat as you. People waste so much money. I'd rather give something small and meaningful then load up on crap. Currently my list is hovering around 30 but I feel like I am missing people from last year.

  3. I am working very hard on standing up for myself with #2 I'm a sucker for tradition but when the tradition is only what other people want and not what I want (or causes me additional stress) I lose the spirit quickly

    I always mean to send Christmas cards but it's easily the first thing to go when I get busy with all of the holiday "stuff".

  4. I love the idea of Christmas cards, but sadly never actually get around to sending them out.

    I am making a few special gifts for some special people though (does that count?). I don't really know how much we spend on Christmas presents, but our kids love opening them so we tend to go cheaper and more with one or two bigger things.

    As for Christmas traditions, we don't really follow others' because it has only been us here, but last year I did do a special advent calendar project and one of the things I did with the kids was to deliver biscuits to a retirement village (and they took us through the dementia unit) and I wanted my kids to learn that sometimes you have to give something without expecting anything in return and that just seeing somebody smile is a great reward. I think we'll do that again this year - who knows, maybe that can be our tradition...

  5. I love Christmas cards...sending them, and getting them. I keep an Excel list, and I add to it throughout the year, as I get correspondence from people. Then I sit down before the holidays and decide if anyone gets cut. :) If I go several years with no card from you / no acknowledgement, then it's probably time we think about staying in touch another way (or not at all). :) I don't make specific notes about who sends / who doesn't...but I think I have a decent gut call system. ;)

    One of my pet peeves, though, is getting cards with nothing written in them. If I haven't heard from you all year, and all you can do is print an address label and stuff the envelope with a card with a picture on it...no, thanks! At least sign your names, folks! (Feeling feisty, can you tell, Marcia?! HA!)

    I am usually cutting it late with my cards, especially since the girls were born. I want to get pictures made close to the holidays (since the girls still change so much in a month or so). And then it really takes time to write in all my cards. I think I told you last year, some of my cards didn't make it out until February or so. Oh, well...the price you pay for a hand-written note from yours truly. HA!

    Wow...between this and your bridesmaid post...I may not have any blogger friends left! I should stop typing. :/

  6. I make all my own cards for everything. When I'm in the mood, I will made up some. I am working on my Christmas cards now. I have all the parts ready and just need to assemble. I think I send the cards more for my enjoyment than anything.

    2. When my son got married, he felt bad that his wife didn't want to continue with our family traditions, but I told him that he should start his own traditions--something special to him and his family.

    4. Unless you are a Carlos Slim Helu (worlds richest man) it is crazy to spend so much on Christmas. Most kids have too many toys, most adults have everything they NEED. I will probably spend $150. and that's for 25 people. My secret--I make almost all the gifts. They are tokens of my love and appreciation. I am buying a book for my SIL-he's not so much into kitchen or bath stuff.

  7. I am all about the lost art of "snail mail"! We sent out 3-4 "family" mail-outs a year and I too receive less than I send but I'm totally ok with that. I would LOVE to send you one of our Christmas cards this year Marcia...could you send me your mailing address via email? (I am not expecting one back I promise....LOL!)

    Sorry the turn out was so poor...I think Christmas Card sending is loosing it's "charm" but for me and mine...it is not, nor will it ever!


  8. I agree with you on the Christmas cards thing... don't receive many, if any at all, and I have to admit that I don't send that many either - mainly to accompany gifts we give. Sometimes I also think that the whole "holiday card" thing is more of an American tradition perhaps?

    Not sure how much we spend on gifts compared to other. We generally only buy for the close family, and a couple of friends.

    Our tradition, for quite some time now (probably about 13 years at least) is to spend one Christmas with my folks and the next with the in-laws. This has been working great for us, but I think more so now that my little guy is around. With the in-laws it is bigger - a couple of households getting together. My folks - much quieter. I love the bigger one :).

  9. Sorry to hear the turnout was not that great. I myself do not sent out Christmas cards because no one sent me some back. So I stopped.
    Me and my husband don't spend more than R1000.00 ($142) on Christmas gifts. This year we have successfully spent less than R750.00 ($107) on Christmas gifts :)
    Me and my husband broke the silence last year and started with our own traditions. My parents was not happy at all but I said: "Tough!" I now have a family and what I want to create, I like.
    Love the Christmas cards that you are going to send out. So many of them :)

  10. I do Christmas cards but am so sad that so few people do - I love hanging them up but last year we had so few.

    I am making mine this year :)

    I dont send overseas cos I dont know anyone there :-p

    Oh and last year was the first year we spent alot on Christmas - Cameron got an xBox and it nearly killed me to pay that much money :-p

  11. I always make our own Christmas cards - and always with a family or kids photo. Started the year after we got married with a Christmas pic of Puppy M. I send to just a few people -family and good friends. We have a standard list on excel. (No I am not that organized with everything in life)because, yes, last year's list got bummed when my hard drive crashed - so this year is a new list. And then I add people - like I think we exchanged last year - did we not?

    Anyways, this year I will be late due to the late date of our shoot.

  12. Oh and we do not do big gifts and do not spend a lot- although the boys bikes will break that one this year.

  13. We keep to small Christmas gifts and splurge on Birthdays. Last year was the first year since I got married that I sent out Christmas cards...and this year I haven't started making yet. I love your organisation of cards.

  14. In 2004, I was so late with my Christmas cards, that they arrived close to Valentine's day.

    In 2005, I got the kids pics done and cards made up with them... and never sent them.

    I still have the thank you cards from when Elora died and people did nice stuff for us all filled out and ready to go... in a drawer.

    I haven't done cards since then.

    No wait- I did send birth announcements for the twins to a handful of people.

  15. I don't send Christmas cards...never have. I like getting them of course, but it doesn't bugg me if I don't. I used to go a bit crazy on gifts for friends over Christmas, but I just can't afford to do that anymore so now I go about focusing my gifts on family.

    This year with the handmade gifts I am especially glad about that. It's super amounts of fun to make all these things, but as it is I'm not sure I'll get everything done on time and just imagine if there was even more to panic about. Next year I'll be starting this in January! Mwahahaha.

    Oh and on the subject of cards I just thought you might enjoy this: My mom wanted to go buy to pretty cards over the weekend, and she almost swallowed her tongue when she saw they were going for R40 each! So she decided to give them their gifts with actual Christmas trees attached. Bit more expensive but she reckons at least they end up with something more substantial. ;-)

  16. I've gone back and forth with photo cards vs. just regular cards. I think I've done cards every year since 2000, maybe skipping 2 or 3 years.

    I could use up all the cards we have and then get new ones or doing photo cards this year... that's an idea! I bet my husband would like that one.

    I have a ton of US cards I send out, but only about 5 overseas.


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