Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Holiday communications are one of the most difficult for me to keep up with. I have a large extended (and not close) family, and friends scattered all over the world. Holiday greetings used to make me curl up my toes. But I refused, as some of my friends have done, to give up on the custom altogether. After all, it is the only link I have with some of these people.
Divide and Conquer
My first strategy is to decide what sort of communication is appropriate. For those people I see regularly, or that I keep in touch with via email, a simple greeting is fine. Others need more information.
I divide up my list into three groups: cards, email, and newsletter.
The people I send cards to are those people who I am in touch with regularly, but who do not believe in email. This includes my parents, my in-laws and various older relatives.
These people are the ones that I email regularly, or who I know check their email regularly. They don’t like the hassle of dealing with paper mail, or like the green advantage of electronic communication.
This group are the extended relatives that I may or may not have seen in the past year. They will generally need to be brought up to speed on the events in our lives. However, I do not believe in sending out a one-size-fits-all letter.
I use labels for all correspondence. Thanks to Word and mail merge, I can quickly print out sheets of labels. The Post Office seems to do better with these, too, rather than my chicken-scratch handwriting.
I extract email addresses from the PDA program, and can paste them quickly into my email greeting cards. I use American Greetings for both print and email cards, and I can set up the holiday email well in advance, and they will send it out at the proper time.
As I mentioned Monday, I do a personalized mailing to the people who get letters. More details can be found in the ebook, Creating Personalized Holiday Letters.
Simplifying Greetings = Less Stress
I used to hate doing greetings. But in the three years that I have followed the strategy I outlined above, I have cut our costs, halved my effort, and felt good about this yearly communication.
Photo by Little Li