Salisbury Press

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Respectfully Yours: holiday-card etiquette

Friday, November 30, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn, My mother has always handled sending out the holiday cards. Now that I’ve moved away from home, I’m sending cards for the first time. What is the basic etiquette on sending out holiday cards? And, if someone I overlooked sends me a card, do I need to send one back?

Dear Reader, The ins and outs of holiday-card etiquette is one of those little things in life that can seem overwhelming.

To lighten the burden, why not begin by starting your own tradition? Make writing out your holiday cards an event instead of a chore. Grab a mug of hot chocolate, put on some holiday music, and let the holiday spirit begin.

The first thing you need to do is compile a list of the people to whom you want to send a holiday greeting. Be sure to consider the religious faith or tradition someone celebrates.

If you are uncertain, send a card with a neutral greeting such as “Happy Holidays.” Keep in mind that you don’t need to send them to neighbors or anyone you’ll see in person this holiday season. You can personally give your good wishes. Holiday cards were intended for people you won’t see over the holidays.

With your completed list and cards in hand, it’s time to add a personal message. The gesture of including a short personal note is that extra step that will show you care and are not just fulfilling a mundane holiday ritual. This personal touch shows you care enough to take the time and give each card some attention.

If you receive a holiday card you weren’t expecting, holiday-card etiquette does not require you to send back a card. If you are feeling guilty for overlooking someone, you can choose to reciprocate. Your other option is to wait and send a New Year’s card. Just be sure to update your list for next year.

Bravo! Your cards are all filled out and addressed. Try not to wait too long to get the cards to the post office. The post office is extremely busy this time of year and you don’t want your cards to arrive after the holiday. The ideal time to send holiday cards is around the middle of the month.

Spread the holiday cheer and send out your holiday cards this year with confidence.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst