Five Alternatives to Christmas Cards

Another Christmas season has passed and, as you take a moment to breathe, you realize you forgot to send out Christmas cards. Or maybe (like I did last year) you ordered them and left them on a counter never to be mailed. It’s possible you even chose not to send Christmas cards because hey, there’s a lot going on, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

I hear you. Last year was a pivotal moment of frustration for me as the adorable cards I had scrambled to have printed and shipped ended up going unused. As soon as December hits, I am frantically checking lists (twice … see what I did there) to make sure I get the basics done. I hated that something so fun and personal, for many a joyful part of the holidays, went untouched. I love the idea of Christmas cards. But the act of sending them when I am also planning three different holiday parties, gift shopping, wrapping, and still trying to keep up with the everyday stuff? It’s not a realistic option for me.

So I decided to change my mindset. This year, I am sending cards to my friends and alternatives to Christmas cardsfamily. I’m going to wish them a great year. I’m going to remind them I am thinking of them. But not at Christmas. While I considered Mardi Gras cards, I decided to take another route. After all, there are so many choices! Ultimately the holidays provide a milestone during which you can wish warm thoughts to those you love. The date doesn’t really matter as long as it’s meaningful to you. So here are five occasions that perfectly lend themselves to a sweet little snail mail greeting.

The New Year

This is my new plan. The week after Christmas the kids are home, we are all tired, and the load has lightened a bit. New Year’s Day is our family day, a day we choose to stay home and regroup. We are also known for our epic New Year’s Eve parties, so it’s quickly become one of my favorite holidays. In truth, I’m a tad grinchy about Christmas. Don’t judge. So this year we will send our cards after Christmas. I know that, initially, my friends will think “bless her heart she got them out late” but in a few years when it’s become the norm and they read the greeting? I bet they will love it. I know I do.

Valentine’s Day

I have a friend who sends a family card every year on Valentine’s Day. It’s adorably pink and red and her girls are dressed alike and I smile when I get it. Plus I’m not buried in a hundred other packages so I get a moment to enjoy it. It’s a sweet and lovely take on an annual holiday card that I thoroughly enjoy.

The Solstice (Pick One)

Here’s to a happy longest day of the year. May your Winter Solstice be sweet … not just short. You get the idea. The Solstice naturally lends itself to endings and beginnings, even if you do not formally celebrate it. What better time than the turning of the seasons to wish someone well from your family to theirs?

End Of the School Year

Happy May, y’all! We made it!! Even the best of friends experience a bit of scattering in May. So send a summer greeting to everyone on your Holiday list. So what if the kids are at the beach instead of in front of a tree. I say ditch the matching winter pajamas in lieu of tropical shirts!

An Anniversary (Pick One)

Maybe you want to celebrate the day of your wedding by wishing families and friends who attended well for the year. Or the anniversary of the day your family became “complete,” such as your last child’s birthday. Perhaps the anniversary of the day you moved into your favorite house? Or the day you adopted?

At the end of the day the idea behind a Holiday card is simply a warm wish of love and happiness for the coming year or season. But if that message has become buried underneath holiday stress then I encourage you to re-frame the “when” you send the card while keeping the “why.” There are numerous opportunities to choose a date that resonates with you and your family. No matter when the message is received, it will be appreciated!

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Jen re-located from Dallas to New Orleans in 2007, after a brief Christmas visit with her (then fiancée) Dave made her realize she’d found her soul city. When she’s not volunteering at her two little bug’s school (one boy, one girl), she enjoys being active and adventurous. In addition to completing Tough Mudders, Jen can be found walking at the park, taking HIIT classes, swinging Kettlebells and boxing around the city. She loves chats at coffee shops with a good friend and insists on having a family fun day at home once a week. Those days are for couch time, completing puzzles or playing Nintendo while her Beagle mix Maddie snoozes on her lap and her fat cat Cinco hangs nearby. Jen feels that the big city of New Orleans is more like a small town and loves chatting with strangers, especially at Mardi Gras. In addition to her blog contributions, you can find her collection of short stories to share with friends at www.jenlassalle.com.

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