Christmas Card Etiquette

Okay, blogging world.  I need some advice.  What is proper Christmas card etiquette?  I mean, last year, we mailed out quite a few Christmas cards.  We received...not very many Christmas cards.  So what do we do this year?  Am I allowed to only mail Christmas cards to the people from whom we received cards last year, unless we strongly want/desire to send a card to a particular person (for example - our grandparents don't send out cards, but obviously we'll still mail one to them).  

What about for family?  For instance, we have a l.o.t. of cousins - if we mail a card to one cousin, do we mail them to all?  What if we mail a card to one cousin, and not to another, but then the non-card-receiving cousin goes to a card-receiving cousin's house and sees our card, and are then hurt?  My hubby's has 30+ first cousins.  I haven't even met them all, and we talk to/see about two of them regularly (by regularly, I mean once a summer).  Can we just mail a card to them?  Or should we NOT mail them a card so as to not hurt other family members' feelings?

Or, in an attempt to rationalize our slim receiving of Christmas cards last year, maybe people precisely plan out how many Christmas cards to buy/order (as I do), and they weren't expecting to get a card from us last year, so they didn't have a card to send to us, but added us to their list for this year.  So should we just send out Christmas cards to everyone that we did last year, and then if they again don't send us a card, they get a big black line drawn through their name for Christmas 2012??

I'm not positive, but I don't think this is supposed to be quite this complicated.  What are your thoughts and suggestions?  How do you decide where to send your Christmas cards (particularly if you have a ginormous family)?  Do you keep track of who enjoys reciprocating the Christmas card tradition, or do you send regardless of receiving status?  If people don't take joy in sending and receiving Christmas cards, I think that I would rather prefer to save my stamp, but at the same time, I'm not a Scrooge!  Maybe people still enjoy receiving Christmas cards, even if they don't send them?  

Side question: When do you mail out your Christmas cards?  Right after Thanksgiving?  The week after?  



  1. After a few years of overthinking this same question, I finally decided that it was ok to just send out cards to the people we are in contact with regularly. (Our list went from about 75 to 25 cards.) I have a LOT of first cousins as well, I sent to probably 5 of them. The ones I see, call or email regularly. I bought a few extra cards in case we recieved one from someone we didn't send to, and I quickly mailed one back to them. I don't know if that is proper "Emily Post" etiquite, but it saves me time and money!

  2. Christmas cards can get so complicated.

    When we first got married, we had a crazy long list. I included pretty much every friends/family member I had ever had contact with... people from high school, college, etc. Pretty much, I took our wedding guest list, added any new friends/colleagues and used that as a Christmas list. It started to get SO expensive (postage and cards can get really out of hand!). So we trimmed our list.

    I send cards to our immediate family (moms, dad, mothers, sisters), grandparents, aunts and uncles. I send cards to other family members (cousins) who I have interactions with or ones that send us cards. You know... people who would be sad not to get one. I don't worry about the rest of the family... but most of them are single guys/gals who really wouldn't necessarily appreciate a card anyways.

    We've also cut our friends list a lot. There are some people I haven't talked to/heard from in years. I don't send them cards anymore. But I definitely send to people that send us cards. There are also some friends that DON'T send cards, but that I want to send to anyways for whatever reason. I also get a few extras. We always seem to get a couple cards from people that I didn't expect to get one from. I'll send them one as well.

    And I usually try to send mine out between December 10 and the 15th. Not for any particular reason. I guess just so I'm not the first, but not the last either.... although I'm not sure that we'll be able to get it together and get a Christmas picture taken in a timely manner this year. So it might be a little bit later :)

  3. We have a lot of cousins on both sides as well, but we don't send them to all. I only send them to those I am especially close with- AKA we chat at least once a month. We make sure to get all aunts/uncles, that way their kiddos (cousins) are able to see them. We are taking our photos this weekend, and will probably send them out a week or so after Thanksgiving. It's usually etiquette if you send one, then you should receive one if they are sending them.

  4. Here's what I think, for what it is worth. I used to pay attention to who sends them. I have learned that there are many people who love Christmas Cards but just never send them. Bless them anyway. Every year it is different. I have a couple of cousins that always send me cards and some that don't, I send to the ones I am close to not necessarily who sends them. I send to friends again, who I cherish but not necessarily gonna get one back from. I send out about 50 cards per year. I love Christmas cards, I have had years I haven't sent them, I have had years where I get a ton and some where there are few.
    As for the above comment about singles not caring.... Oh they care. I was a single adult for a long time. I have single adult children who sometimes send cards and sometimes they don't but they love receiving it means a lot.
    There is my epistle. Send because you LOVE. Don't worry about anyone else. You will change your mind every year.
    Thank you for your candidness. I love that.

  5. I usually send cards to people even if I don't get one from them. As for cousins, I have tons of cousins on my mom's side. Some of whom I've never even met. I don't send Christmas cards to any of my cousins, but I do send cards to my aunts and uncles and tell them to give my love to my cousins and their families. That way I only have to send out 15 family cards instead of 50. We have a close group of friends to whom we send cards every year whether or not they send one (about 10 people), and we keep about 10 extras on hand in case we receive a card from someone that we didn't send one to.

  6. Also, I mail Christmas cards around the end of the first week in December.

  7. Skip the hassle and don't send any!


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