Holiday Card Etiquette Tips

Christmas festive layout background with spruce branches with cones and paper card note

It’s that time of year and we’re sharing tips on Holiday Card addressing and etiquette. Here’s Octane founder, Danielle Meadows-Stinnett’s two cents on what to do and what to steer away from when sending out your holiday cards.

1 ) No apostrophes on Holiday cards.

Apostrophes are used to show possession. Apostrophes are not used to make words plural. (Be on the lookout for YouTube tutorial on this one!) 

For Example:
The Stinnetts not The Stinnett’s
The Jones not The Jones’s or Jones’

2 ) Digital or Print holiday cards?

My suggestion is to give based on commutative relationship. Have that Instagram friend that you comment with back and forth? That’s a digital card. What about your girlfriend or monthly drinking buddy? Probably a printed card. Use your printed cards as statements to show a more personable touch.

3 ) When do I remove people from my greeting card list?

Ok, Here’s where the Red Sea parts. In my opinion, holiday cards aren’t meant for everyone they’re truly meant for people you won’t see but wish to keep present in heart during the holiday season.

If you see Susan everyday, then you can simply tell her personally because she’s already very present. (I think I just saved some trees on this one.) 

My rule of thumb in removing people from your list: if you don’t get one in return after two years of sending them a card, its safe to remove. NOTE: This excludes the elderly. Please keep sending them a card! 

4 ) How to Sign the Cards.

Using first names is the new modern way to leave your printed holiday signature.

For Example:
“Danielle, Kevin, Miles, Michael and Ellington” is best unless you specifically want the last name.

The classic, ‘The Hillenmeyers‘ is just as good too, especially with infants and young children.

In the case of blended families and step families the parents are listed on line 1 with children’s first names on line 2.

5 ) Including passed loved ones on Holiday cards.

This is an open field in a lot of ways and completely dependent upon how the sender feels. If you want to, do it. If you don’t want to, then don’t. I personally lost a stillborn infant in August and I will be honoring her name on our cards as “in remembrance of Ella Jo Ann Maria Stinnett”. This is NOT for everybody but works for us. 

6 ) Handwritten envelopes or nah?

This depends on your style … and the state of your handwriting. If your penmanship is chicken scratch think about printing your envelopes in a festive font.

Have festive labels? Use them! Plain white labels do look more like mailers but use your best judgement here.

Handwritten and Calligraphy styles are totally in season and quite popular!

What I do: I setup a mail merger document in MS word or Pages and use it for printing my envelopes every year in batches. There’s even online websites for this now too!

7 ) Round Robin or Personal Letters inside the card. Acceptable or not?

In my opinion: nix this. If you do share a list of achievements, limit sharing these to those that would truly appreciate them. Keep in mind that your “high note” could be someone else’s “low note”. 

Picture of octane


Creative, multi-business owner, published author, wife and mom of 3. Book Danielle to speak at www.daniellemeadowsstinnett.com.

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