As shopping for last-minute presents and holiday baking and cooking often take priority in busy December schedules, sending holiday cards can be one of the tasks that can easily make it to the bottom of your to-do list. That doesn’t have to be the case. If you know when to mail Christmas cards so that they arrive on time to your recipients, you’ll be able to plan accordingly for sending your cards filled with holiday greetings.
While you won’t find concrete rules for the right or wrong times when holiday cards should arrive, you should send your holiday cards before the last-minute mailing rush starts. In general, you want your cards to reach your recipients about one to two weeks before the holiday mentioned in the card. The following guidelines offer some ideas:
If you’re wondering when to send Christmas cards and are concerned about timing, just remember that it’s never too early to mail your Christmas cards. By taking some time to plan ahead, you can avoid the last-minute rush and expedited mailing costs to get your holiday cards delivered to your recipients on time.
During a large part of the year, first-class mail generally takes between one to three days of transit time from sender to recipient, according to the U.S. Postal Service. The busiest week of the holiday season for the Postal Service is generally the last full week before the Christmas holiday. In 2019, Postal Service officials estimated that their mail carriers would deliver approximately 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
When you’re trying to decide when to mail Christmas cards, allow more time for delivery than usual because of the busyness of the season, at least four to seven days. In 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are affecting mail delivery, which may play a role in your decision on when to send holiday cards. Currently, the Postal Service can no longer accept or deliver international mail to several countries due to COVID-19 service restrictions. If you need to mail a holiday card to an international destination, confirm with the Postal Service before placing your card in the mail.
Creating your desired Christmas card takes some time. In fact, the design you choose can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the process. Everyone wants a holiday card to capture a recipient’s attention, be memorable, and convey the sentiment associated with the holiday season.
You may be fortunate to have access to an in-house designer at your company, or you may have to enlist the talents of an independent design professional. Regardless of who will design your Christmas cards, make sure you allow plenty of time for the design process. Aim for about three to four weeks so that you can complete your card design and be ready to move forward with production. If you delay, you could have to pay for rush fees associated with quick-turnaround Christmas card design if you’re working with an outside designer.
Before you place an order for holiday cards, you need to know when you want to send them out. Set a target mail-by date for your cards. When ordering your cards, allow enough time for your holiday card vendor to print, package, and send the cards to you. Don’t forget about budgeting time to personalize, address, and stamp the envelopes.
When creating your holiday to-do list, place ordering your Christmas cards at the top of the list. Allow about three to four weeks for designing, printing, and shipping, just to be safe. Check with your holiday card provider to confirm your ordering deadline.
At this time of year, the Postal Service can use all the help it can get. By following a few guidelines for addressing your mail, you can ensure that your holiday greetings will reach your recipients on time:
If the thought of creating the perfect holiday card causes you to stress, remind yourself that you don’t need to panic. Focus on the following six tasks to keep you on track:
Armed with this knowledge of when to mail Christmas cards, you’ll be able to put your mind at ease this holiday season knowing that your recipients will receive your holiday greetings on time.
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