Sending holiday cards? Here’s what USPS, Shutterfly and an etiquette expert want you to know


The holiday season brings long-held traditions such as decorating the Christmas tree, gathering with friends and more.

And your family might be preparing to send out holiday cards to friends and loved ones. Some people find it difficult to address holiday cards. They run the risk of making a grammatical error or another faux pas.

Plus, the U.S.

Plus, the U.S. Postal Service and other experts urge shoppers to send their holiday gifts as soon as possible.

Daniel Post Senning, author and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, told USA TODAY that, however you send your holiday greetings, “never underestimate the value that a personal touch can put on your communication.”

Here’s what you need to know before mailing your best wishes.

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How do I write addresses on holiday cards?

USPS recommends that people sending letters “print addresses neatly in capital letters.” If you are handwriting the addresses on your holiday cards, use a pen or permanent marker.

You don’t need to use a comma or period when writing addresses, according to the USPS.

Senning explained it’s also important to use a person’s full name when addressing an envelope.

“The most important thing is that it gets to the right person. It may seem like common sense, but it’s often the most difficult tip.” he stated. “You want to use people’s full names on external envelopes, even if inside it’s to ‘Dear Sally’ or ‘Dear Smith family.'”

You can add the addresses of your friends and family online with some holiday card creators. Shutterfly President Jim Hilt told USA TODAY you can personalize holiday cards by addressing them. .

“When you’re addressing cards, the font you choose can really help set the tone. He said that he prefers to address cards to the person’s name or to the family name. You can make your own envelopes or have Shutterfly mail them for free.

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Is it Miss, Ms. or Mrs.?

If you want to use formal titles when addressing your holiday card, “Miss” refers to an unmarried woman or a girl. Mrs. is a married woman. Ms. can be used to refer to all women. Men can use Mr.

In business, Ms. is usually the appropriate option for women. The plural of two women is Mesdames and the plural of Mr. is Messrs.

Senning advised that “the standard for how you address people is how they would like to be addressed.”

“In terms of the ways that you structure and organize titles, it’s really more about the preferences of the recipient,” he said.

How do I know what titles to use for all of my friends and loved ones?

For a couple that consists of a man and woman, one of the most traditional ways to address them is by formal titles and the man’s first and last name: Mr. And Mrs. John Kelly.

But it’s 2021, so experts say you can take a different approach without offending your loved ones.

“You’ve got the very traditional form for a married couple that are addressed using the husband’s name, essentially, so it becomes the Mr. And Mrs. John Smith. Senning stated that it is just as formal to address Dr. Jane Smith or Mr. John Smith.

But he added that “it’s always good etiquette to ask if you don’t know.”

“It’s OK to ask the person who you’re sending it to, ‘I’m sending something. I want to make sure that I have the correct address. It’s polite to ask, “How would you like to address me?” He said that it’s not too soon to reveal the surprise or stealing your thunder to do so.

Hilt told USA TODAY there are also details that can make your card more personal.

“Sometimes adding in their nickname in parentheses is a way to make them smile. You can also add their pets (even the fish!) It’s a nice way to make your card stand apart,” he said.

You may also want to ask if a person prefers a gender-neutral title such as Mx., according to Senning.

Is it Happy New Year, Happy New Year’s or Happy New Years?

If you want to send a card to mark the new year, you should wish friends and family a “Happy New Year.”

You don’t need to capitalize the name of the holiday if you’re discussing events in the new year. You might tell your family that your spouse will be starting a new job.

And another quick tip — it’s season’s greetings, not seasons greetings.

Merry Christmas to the Smiths’? Smith’s? Smiths?

We know you might need a refresher on where and when to use an apostrophe when addressing holiday greetings. Here’s a quick reference:

The Smith Family:

Do: Merry Christmas from the Smiths. Soon, the Smiths will host their Christmas Eve party. This gift is from the Smith family.

Don’t: The Smith’s are traveling for the holidays.

The Jones Family:

Do: Merry Christmas from the Joneses. The Jones Christmas Eve party is approaching.

Don’t: The Jones’ are traveling for the holidays.

The May Family:

Do: Merry Christmas from the Mays. The Mays are hosting a Christmas Eve party.

Don’t: The Maies are traveling for the holidays.

Here’s a general rule: Names that end in “ch,” other than those that are pronounced with a hard k like “monarch;” s; sh; x; and z; need an es to make them plural.

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