Simplified holiday cards

I was volunteering at my daughter’s school awhile back, preparing a school mailer, when I overheard one mom say randomly that she keeps all her addresses on a label template and then simply prints them for her Christmas cards. I stopped in my tracks… thinking what a brilliant idea. Why had I not even considered that before?! While I wouldn’t type my addresses directly into a template I could use my electronic address file to easily transfer them to labels. It would not only be a significant time-saver but would eliminate the chance of writing an address incorrectly. In the past I’ve double checked addresses, wasted envelopes because of mistakes or horrible handwriting… it’s a process, right?

In my holiday post last year, Top 10 Tips for an Organized holiday, I discussed my system for keeping addresses organized. I simply keep them in an Excel spreadsheet and during the year as I get address changes I update them there, using the spreadsheet as my permanent address book. It has continued to work really well for me. I still always end up doing a mad dash in December to get those new addresses that I haven’t received… but oh well! No longer will I need to print my addresses and check them off…

Because I instead took a trip to Staples and found these 2″x4″ Avery White Shipping labels ($8 after rebate for 250 labels). I think the larger shipping labels fit better visually on a 5×7 card than typical narrow address labels and they have the added benefit of fitting a return address as well!  Since I send out about 70 Christmas cards each year I will be set for over 3 years and the labels will only cost me around $2.30 each year. Uhhh… I think that’s worth my time saved.

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So, the real time-saver in this process is the free Avery Print & Design online software which allows you to import Excel files and create custom looking labels that are ready in minutes. No log-ins or downloads necessary. All you do is type in your label template number (in my case 5263) and then select what kind of design you want to start with.

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Of course you can use a blank design and only have text on your label but I thought… why not spruce this thing up? I browsed the Christmas section where they have 62 designs to choose from as well as the Backgrounds & Borders section where I found the holiday looking one I settled on. This was by far the most time-consuming part of the process (ha!). And from learning from my own mistake, I would recommend selecting a design that does not have a border as during the printing process the alignment can get off a little and be much more visible than if you just had a non-border graphic. It’s funny how I think I picked the only bordered one… but I’m definitely not redoing them… it’s about simplifying not “perfection”.

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Moving along… once you select your design you can do as little or as much customization as you want. You can change the default font, font size, move anything around. Pretty cool!

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Once that’s complete you can select “Import Data” on the left side where you are then prompted through some easy steps to upload your Excel file. The only tip I have here is make sure the recipient’s address field is selected before selecting “Import Data” as shown above.

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You then review your labels and make any necessary changes (you can adjust all labels at once or individually) before you lastly print and stick!

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I’m always super pleased when I tweak a process to be more organized and can benefit from it for many years to come. This little project was just that. It saved me time this year, but it will save me even more time in the future as I have one run under my belt.

Would love to hear if anyone else is going to try this out; leave me a comment below.

I wish you and your family a simply wonderful holiday!


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2 responses

  • i loved this post! thanks for sharing. trying to get ahead for this season. can you let me know more specifically what your excel spreadsheet looks like (i.e what are your headers?). i also agree that this is probably the easiest way to keep track going forward but i’ve run into issues with the merge.

    thanks in advance!
    veronica allora

  • I have never been able to get the mail merge down in Word, well at least not to my liking. This looks so simple. I will start experimenting now and be ready for my next big trip to the post office. I keep a template in word that fits my labels and update as I get new address’. I usually select a clip art photo dependent on the type of mailing or season. Birthday= Balloons, Halloween party = Pumpkins…etc. Shh…we also do our “From Santa” labels this way as the kiddos started noticing Santa writes like daddy! lol

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