I love sending Christmas cards. They are actually the only cards we send all year because I think most cards are a waste of money.
One thing I don’t like, however, is addressing them. It’s such a long process, and by the time I’m done my handwriting looks like I went to medical school.
Years ago I started using Microsoft Word to create my labels and I’ve never looked back. So here’s a step-by-step tutorial of how to do it yourself.
First you’re going to need labels. If you’re good with graphics you can choose plain labels and design them yourself, otherwise there are plenty of pre-printed labels available. I like these 2″ x 4″ holly labels* (use with Avery Template 5163) because they’re a good size for any length address.
Next you’re going to need your card list. We used our wedding invitation list and went from there. Over the year we’ve added people, dropped people, and combined or separated as needed. Setting up the list the first time is a pain, but once it’s done you have a master list for basically all major life events and every holiday, so I think it’s worth it.
In an Excel file (you can also use Word, but Excel makes sorting easier) create a new spreadsheet. In the top row, create the following headers:
- Address To – this is to whom you want your mail addressed, such as The Smith Family or Mr. & Mrs. Smith
- Names – What you normal call them, such as Grandma & Grandpa or Joe from work
- Street – house number and street, unit number if needed
- City – or town
- State – abbreviate, as you would on an envelope
Other things you may add include phone and e-mail, names of children, etc. We also have a column to specify the priority of each person or family on our list. It sounds kind of cruel, but when the budget is tight it’s nice to have and easy way to sort the list. I suggest having 25 people in each priority level since photo cards are printed in groups of 25.
Make sure you keep this list up to date when someone moves, gets married, or changes their name. Sending out an incorrectly addressed card is awkward and a waste of money.
Now you’re ready to make your labels!