Tips for holiday card etiquette

It's time to send out those holiday cards. Here is a selection from Kimberly's in Winchester. Ashley Miller/Daily

With the holidays fast approaching comes the excitement of holiday cards. Dating back to the 19th century, holiday cards have been shared between family members, co-workers, teachers and friends for over 150 years. Today, over 2 billion holiday cards pass through the U.S. Postal Service annually and over 500 million are sent via email or other electronic services.

When it comes to the holiday card etiquette, the rules haven’t changed. Kimberly Sowers, owner of Kimberly’s in Winchester, shared a few friendly card etiquette tips to ensure the greetings are appreciated by all.

“I still have Christmas cards dating back 2o years,” Sowers said. “It’s something that can be treasured for days, or years to come.”

For Sowers, sending traditional Christmas cards is still a must. It’s right up there with finding the right gifts for everyone on her holiday list.

“I think it’s night and day between sending a traditional card versus an electronic card,” Sowers said. “It’s much more personable.”

Despite the ever-growing popularity of electronic holiday cards, Sower’s isn’t a fan.

“I have the most realistic ad I wish I could show everyone when they ask me about electronic cards,” Sowers said laughing. The ad depicts a lady clutching a note to her chest, in a very emotional manner, and it reads, “no one ever cherished an email.”

Sowers added,  “You can’t keep something in your email forever. It loses its appeal.”

When searching for the right holiday card, Sowers leans more toward the sentimental and religious, both business-wise as well as personally.

“Christmas has Christ in it,” Sowers said. “Really, that’s what the holiday is all about.” Card designs depict red cardinals, traditional Christmas trees, festive snowmen and even cats. “We try to offer a wide enough selection to fit all religious affiliations,” Sowers said. “And we even have some for those individuals who just want something cute.”

Choosing the perfect holiday card is usually the trickiest part, Sowers explained.“From there it’s just deciding how personable you want to be.”

In today’s technology-run climate, remembering etiquette is still valuable. Individuals under 50 are typically a little less formal when addressing and signing cards Sowers explained. But for those still wanting to be a bit more formal, Sowers suggests “Mr. and Mrs.,” and always handwriting both the address and return address.

Sowers expressed her love for a holiday card that shares a few lines about how the writer has been for the past few months.

“Adding a little something extra makes it more personable,” she said. “That’s what the holiday season is about.”

At a corporate level, holiday card etiquette is just as important. Sowers said many businesses send between 200 and 500 holiday cards a year.

“For some business, it’s an opportunity to thank their customers, suppliers and even employees,” Sowers said. “For others, it’s an opportunity to possibly gain new customers.”

The most important question of all: when to start sending all those holiday cards.

“There’s no exact date or formula for sending Christmas cards,” Sowers said. Instead, she suggests sending them two weeks into November up until Christmas. “Sometimes I receive them even two weeks into the New Year,” Sowers said. “Sometimes people are just busy. It’s really the thought that counts anyways.”