The Tradition of Christmas Cards

Do you send Christmas cards to your friends and loved ones?

The tradition of sending Christmas cards in America goes back to about 1875, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. That is when the first cards were published. Today, Americans mail about 1.5 billion Christmas cards, not counting the cards they deliver in person.

The first President to send an official Christmas card from the White House was President Dwight Eisenhower. If you send a card to the President, you might get one in return!

How and When to Send Your Christmas Cards

The post office is recommending that you physically bring your Christmas cards to the post office to be mailed this year, either to the retail desk or the wall drop-in slot inside the post office. Apparently, there has been a rash of thefts from the few remaining blue mailboxes on streets. Setting your cards outside of your home mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up is probably also not a good idea — I had a greeting card stolen that way.

For your friends and loved ones in the U.S., send cards between the beginning of December and December 9 (Christmas card day). For special recipients, and recipients abroad, send them soon after Thanksgiving.

Who Should Get a Card?

I think it’s really important to remember anyone in your family who may be socially isolated, first and foremost. This includes elderly people at home, people in nursing homes or hospitals, and people with disabilities. These groups tend to have reduced opportunities for socializing and a card is a thoughtful way to show you care.

In addition, you might want to send cards to close family members, friends, neighbors, your minister, your doctor, neighbors, employees, helpers, etc.

Cards teach children the value of appreciation. If you have children who are in preschool or school, it is appropriate to send cards in for the teacher, but do not forget the bus driver, aides and specials teachers. Have your child sign — or even make — the card.


Guidelines for Sending Cards to Special People

  • Unless otherwise instructed, put your full return address on the envelope.
  • Do not insert anything in your card, such as confetti or a photo.
  • No glitter! Most all organizations ask that the card you send does not have glitter on it, or is not otherwise 3-D. Embossing is okay.
  • Select a nice, conventional-sized, flat card.
  • If you include a message, be sure it is a positive one. Refrain from political statements. A Christmas card is not a vehicle for complaints!

US Troops. Please see my previous post on how to send Christmas cards to US Troops.

The Pope. Use two stamps for a card that weighs 1 oz or less and address it this way, with the lines just so:

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

The President of the United States. To send a Christmas Card to President Biden and First Lady Biden, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, Office of the President, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500. If you are lucky, you might receive a Christmas card in return!

The Vice President of the United States. To send a Christmas Card to Vice-President Harris, be sure to put your name and return address on the envelope and address it to: The White House, Office of the Vice President, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500.

The Governor of Virginia. To send a Christmas card to the Governor of Virginia, address your card to Governor Glenn Youngkin, P.O. Box 1475, Richmond, VA 23218.

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