November 19, 2009

Tip of the day

Holiday Greeting Cards--

It is more environmentally friendly to send cards via e-mail, but I can't wrap my head around it.  I know how much I enjoy receiving cards and letters from others, and many of the people we send cards to are elderly relatives who especially enjoy the photo of Hannah and handwritten note.  When our daughter was 9 months old, I didn't send holiday cards (I say this because I send Hanukah cards to part of my family that is Jewish, Christmas cards, and seasonal cards to friends who are atheist).  I decided that it was the one easily eliminated holiday activity that I was willing to do, but I made a commitment to myself to send postcards with a photo of our daughter on them for Valentine's Day.  The reaction from people far exceeded what we had from holiday cards because it was something unexpected and also a holiday when people who have lost loved ones and spouses are left out.  I now make a point to do a mailing during the holidays and at some other point during the year at the very least to elderly relatives.   I send cards to about 80 people (I have one of those Big, Fat Greek Wedding kind of families), and I'll include some tips to make it easier to send them below.

All of that said, I am including some eco-friendly options for holiday greetings that I've heard of--

  • E-mails holiday greetings.
  • Postcards.  They require less paper, can be made by yourself (see dimensions and requirements on the USPS website), or can be made at places like Walgreens and Snapfish.  They are also cheaper to mail!!
  • Cards and envelopes made with recycled paper.  You can find these tons of places now.
  • Re-gifting the card.  Take the front page of a pretty card you've received before and would like to send to someone else and remove it from the other page(s) with a knife or scissors.  Paste construction or another pretty paper to the back-side (you can make this look like a mat if you want) and write on the back.  I've only done this with cards that were just too pretty to throw away.
  • Re-use the card.  When you get cards that are too gorgeous to throw away, put them in a picture frame.  You can rotate these out to be seasonal and use them as decorations in your home.
  • Use your child's art to make a card--get creative.  Remember those cool Valentine's cards we all used to make?
  • Make a phone call instead.  Most people would prefer to have a phone call to check in on them.  With cell phones often having free nights and weekends, you could take this month and make a few calls a week to get your annual check in with people accomplished.
  • What about your pen?  Make sure you recycle your spent pens and try to buy ones made of more earth friendly materials in the future.
  • What other ideas? 

Time saving tips-

  • Create a list on your computer of addresses.  Update this list throughout the year as things change.  You can use sticky type of mailing labels (maybe not the most environmentally friendly though) to make the return and mailing addresses a breeze. 
  • Get everyone involved.  Maybe your partner writes or signs ones for his/her side of the family, maybe all of the family members sign their own names, maybe you make a production line where everyone is in charge of a different job--stuffing, addressing, etc.
  • Start early.   For years the thing I would do while traveling home from Thanksgiving was start the cards.  If I started in November, I was almost always done in the first week of December.  Don't sweat it if you don't get them done early, though.  I've also sent them out as a New Year's greeting before!
  • If you don't mind having a limited selection and maybe not all of your cards matching, buy your cards after the holidays for the following year.  I usually can still get them in January for about 75% off.

What other ideas do you have?  Please include them in the comments section.

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