I awoke today, thinking of all that needs to be done, writing my mental “To Do” list. Despite our best efforts, with the holidays comes holiday stress. What is the first item on my list? Our holiday card! Though it is relatively easy selecting a design and photo of my husband and I (ok, maybe not the photo), it is the list of recipients that was always such a daunting task for me.
In 2015, I vowed to have a more organized approach to our holiday card mailing process. I made a list (and checked it twice). Luckily, we got married in 2015, so I used our invitee list as a starting point. If you don’t have a list started, pick a place to start: address book, phone contacts, family tree, etc.
I prefer to create my recipient list in Microsoft Excel, as most websites allow you to import your list (download my free template). Beginning in cell A:2, add your holiday card recipients in any order, as you can sort later (another reason why Excel is a great tool). Enter the names how you’d like each to appear on the envelope. Each US address line must be 40 characters or less in order to meet US Postal Service regulations (don’t worry, this rule is built into my template, notifying you if you exceed this 40 character regulation). Because of this, I opted for more informal wording (omitting Mr., Mrs., Ms., etc.):
- For an individual without children: Stephanie Peirce
- For an individual with children: Stephanie Peirce and Family (or, The Peirce Family)
- For a non-married couple without children: Ryan Peirce and Stephanie Keller
- For a non-married couple with children: Ryan Peirce, Stephanie Keller, and Family (or, The Peirce Keller Family)
- For a married couple (same last name) without children: Ryan and Stephanie Peirce
- For a married couple (same last name) with children: The Peirce Family
- For a married couple (different last names) without children: Ryan Peirce and Stephanie Keller
- For a married couple (different last names) with children: Ryan Peirce, Stephanie Keller, and Family (or, The Peirce Keller Family)
Beginning in cell B:2, add the mailing address for each recipient added in Step 1. I prefer to enter the full street suffix name. However, abbreviations are acceptable and will not result in undeliverable mail. Common abbreviations include:
|Primary Street Suffix Name||Postal Service Standard Abbreviation|
|Avenue||AVE or Ave.|
|Boulevard||BLVD or Blvd.|
|Center||CTR or Ctr.|
|Circle||CIR or Cir.|
|Court||CT or Ct.|
|Drive||DR or Dr.|
|Highway||HWY or Hwy.|
|Lane||LN or Ln.|
|Road||RD or Rd.|
|Street||ST or St.|
|Way||WAY or Way|
View the complete list of Street Suffix abbreviations here.
|Geographical Directional||Postal Service Standard Abbreviation|
|North||N or N.|
|East||E or E.|
|South||S or S.|
|West||W or W.|
|Northeast||NE or N.E.|
|Southeast||SE or S.E.|
|Northwest||NW or N.W.|
|Southwest||SW or S.W.|
If your recipient has an apartment or unit number (or something of the like), indicate this beginning in cell C:2. If your recipient does not have an apartment or unit number, cell C:2 will remain empty. Again, I prefer to enter the full secondary unit designator description. However, abbreviations are acceptable and will not result in undeliverable mail. Common abbreviations include:
|Secondary Unit Designator Description||Postal Service Standard Abbreviation|
|Apartment||APT or Apt.|
|Basement||BSMT or Bsmt.|
|Building||BLDG or Bldg.|
|Department||DEPT or Dept.|
|Floor||FL or Fl.|
|Room||RM or Rm.|
|Suite||STE or Ste.|
|Unit||UNIT or Unit|
View the complete list of Secondary Unit Designator abbreviations here.
Beginning in cell D:2, add the city of the mailing address for each recipient added in Step 1.
Beginning in cell E:2, add the state of the mailing address for each recipient added in Step 1. As in Step 2, I prefer to enter the full state name. Again, abbreviations are acceptable and will not result in undeliverable mail.
View the complete list of state abbreviations here.
Beginning in cell F:2, add the zip code of the mailing address for each recipient added in Step 1. Each US zip code must be at least five digits in order to meet US Postal Service regulations (don’t worry, this rule is built into my template, notifying you if you don’t meet this five digit regulation).
Beginning in cell G:2, add the country of the mailing address for each recipient added in Step 1. This step is not necessary if all of your recipients reside within the United States.
I’ve developed a few tried and true tips for keeping our holiday card recipient list and mailing process organized:
- As we receive mail throughout the year, I either check to ensure we have the correct address of the sender on our spreadsheet, or, I save the envelope (or just the return address) and double-check before sending out our holiday cards each year.
- I utilize Excel’s Conditional Formatting tool, to ensure that I have not indicated the same recipient name twice (don’t worry, this formatting is built into my template, notifying you if you have entered a duplicate recipient name).
- I order five additional holiday cards, beyond what is needed to send to my recipient list, in the event that I unintentionally forgot to include someone on our list.
- If you are choosing to have your envelopes addressed for you, you can complete the template, save in the format specified (usually Excel or CSV), and import.
- If you are self-addressing your envelopes, you can perform a mail merge to create mailing labels or print directly on your envelopes.
I love the selection of Holiday Photo Cards from Minted. Below are my favorites for 2016:
Happy Holidays, Collocaters!