Late Christmas Cards
December 31, 2008 8:26 AM   Subscribe

How late is too late to send out Christmas cards?

We've had a horribly busy Christmas season (wife in grad school, multiple family illnesses) and have not sent any Christmas cards as we usually do.

I say it's too late to send cards, spouse says we must...

What thinks the MetaMind ?

posted by sandpine to Home & Garden (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just send them. Who doesn't like receiving mail and being thought of?
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 8:31 AM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

If you make them "holiday" cards, it's probably not too late.
posted by sinfony at 8:31 AM on December 31, 2008

Have you already bought cards? If not, I'd suggest New Year's cards instead of Christmas ones. You still have time for those.

People never mind getting mail. I'd probably giggle if I got a Christmas card after the first week of January or so, but no harm no foul.
posted by juliplease at 8:32 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

just make them for '09.
posted by dawson at 8:35 AM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

My mother sends Valentine's day cards instead, because most adults aren't expecting those from anyone except their partner, and it breaks up the monotony of winter.
posted by desjardins at 8:37 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go ahead and send them if you've got them! I love receiving Christmas cards, even after Christmas. If you don't have them, I think New Year's or Valentine's cards are a great idea.
posted by robinpME at 8:38 AM on December 31, 2008

Checking in with people is nice but less nice if it feels like an obligation. That's my feeling on xmas cards anyhow. So, I'd say send cards when it's a nice time in your life to send cards. I often do the V Day thing myself, or New Years. Sometimes sending cards is nice when you're in a rut because it lets you sort of outwardly focus a little and it's nice to get little pings back from people when you may be feeling low. Find a way to connect with people that works for the two of you. It's never really "too late"
posted by jessamyn at 8:42 AM on December 31, 2008

As far as I'm concerned, Christmas isn't over until I get my Twelve Drummers Drumming. You have up to Epiphany, January 6. :-)

Seriously, do you write a note on each card, more than just "Dear ____" followed by signing your names? I usually do, but I also send only a small handful of cards. If you write a note, you can explain the timing, too.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:43 AM on December 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

It's not too late. But like jessamyn says, if you don't want to, don't feel obligated.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:44 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's never too late (well, October might be pushing it, but then you say you're getting a start on next year's). We have a friend who sends his Christmas cards in July, and another who sends them in mid-January. They're all good.

I've frequently sent out Christmas cards after Christmas. As I said to a friend one year, who asked why? "why not? I've got the cards and the stamps, the letter is written, people aren't likely to refuse mail that isn't a bill." I often claim I'm celebrating Russian Orthodox Christmas, but usually I just say that I was running late. My friends understand that, and many of them do the same.

If you or your spouse want to send them, go right ahead. If the only reason you're doing it is because you feel you need to, don't.
posted by jlkr at 8:57 AM on December 31, 2008

We sent ours the day after xmas...people were delighted to get a card. Late cards are less likely to get lost in the deluge before the holiday.
posted by notsnot at 8:59 AM on December 31, 2008

My family has sent out "Epiphany" cards in this situation. Perfectly acceptable. My godparents have done the same... go ahead and do it. People will appreciate hearing from you even if it's a little late.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 9:02 AM on December 31, 2008

Getting mail is always nice. You have until the 4th of July. If you send them after that, they're early for '09. You have my new address?
posted by theora55 at 9:03 AM on December 31, 2008

Or you can go to your nearest Chinatown and get some Chinese New Year cards. (The year of the ox starts Jan 26th, 2009.)
posted by applesurf at 9:06 AM on December 31, 2008

Yep, even the Wise Men missed Christmas ;)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:13 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

I once received a Christmas card two years late. It was emblazoned with a 2003 logo, and printed in 2003, and arrived in 2005; I don't remember now what month I actually received it.... And, actually, it is my favorite Christmas card ever. It's from family friends I hold dear, and who often don't send cards at all; and it is a photo card of them together, in Antartica--one is a scientist and they went down there on a research vessel--, holding a penguin. It lives on my fridge, even though I've thrown out all other cards.

So send them! I'll be sending mine out in a week or two, most likely. Better late than never--a favorite saying of mine. No one doesn't like a card, and everyone understands being busy.
posted by Herkimer at 9:52 AM on December 31, 2008

just make them for '09.

Actually, that could be really clever. Write in the card that you were so embarassed about missing 2008 Christmas that you wanted to be sure not to miss '09!
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 9:55 AM on December 31, 2008

It's Christmas until Jan 6. Go ahead and send 'em right away. Don't apologize for being busy or whatever, everyone's busy, everyone understands and likes getting cards. Just send 'em.

(Me, I'm sending Happy New Year cards this year I think.)
posted by desuetude at 10:11 AM on December 31, 2008

I do New Year's cards anyhow since among my friends Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas, Festivus, and National Yak Shaving day are all celebrated and I don't want to offend anyone by sending a card for a holiday they don't celebrate. Everyone recognizes the new calendar year! (Well. Everyone I know. So far.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:01 AM on December 31, 2008

you could send out electronic cards. we did that when we realized that the next day was xmas eve. we found some that didn't make us gag and allowed us to put in photos and unlike hard copy cards, we got a HUGE response from ppl - no one said "god, how g-h-e-y," they said "wow, it was nice to see you, what a cool card". so i dont get the spam accusation, mefi me if you want the name of the co. we used.

note: it was NOT free. it cost us $2.99. to me that was what made the difference between ick and acceptable.

also, since we are a mixed household, as are our friends, we sent out new year's cards. but the place had tons more traditional holiday ones.
posted by micawber at 11:13 AM on December 31, 2008

We ended up sending "Easter" mailings/family letters one year. People thought it was cute. Go on, procrastinate some more!
posted by nanojath at 11:20 AM on December 31, 2008

Put a note on them that says "Sorry we didn't send out Christmas cards last year, life got a bit hectic. We decided to start early this year. MERRY CHRISTMAS 2009!!!"
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 AM on December 31, 2008

I got a Christmas card in early March once. Photo of 3 kids in sweaters, Christmas background and all. It was hilariously unexpected and I loved it. I'd actually recommend waiting a bit, to enter the "ridiculously late, this is funny" phase, and bypass the whole "is it over yet?" post-Christmas cleanup days, especially if you have the cards/stamps/letter etc. already. If you're lucky, postage rates will go up and you'll get to stick a generic makeup stamp next to your pretty Xmas one.
posted by donnagirl at 11:51 AM on December 31, 2008

Response by poster:
Thanks for all the great replies!!

Lots of things here I had not thought of or even considered.

Out the door they will go... ;-)

posted by sandpine at 12:29 PM on December 31, 2008

Russian Orthodox Christmas is the 7th of January. You'd probably have trouble finding Kwanzaa cards.
posted by K.P. at 4:01 PM on December 31, 2008

Holiday cards are fine to send out past Christmas. If you want to send out religious cards then send out cards to celebrate Epiphany. Many countries celebrate that more than Christmas as a major holiday.
posted by JJ86 at 7:21 PM on December 31, 2008

If' you've already bought the cards, save the Christmas cards for next year and just send out an attractive, non-seasonal card.
posted by orange swan at 7:22 PM on December 31, 2008

Nothing wrong with sending the cards out at this point. Nothing wrong with not sending Christmas cards (now or ever).

We usually buy blank-inside cards so I'd probably be writing "Happy New Year" instead of "Merry Christmas" at this point but I wouldn't think it's weird to receive a "Merry Christmas" card that was sent after Christmas.
posted by winston at 7:33 PM on December 31, 2008

People get busy, especially around the holidays. I'm sure the recipients will just appreciate that you thought of them and not consider the date. If you haven't written the cards out yet, you can say that you hope their December holidays were festive and that they have a happy New Year. It's definitely not too late!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:38 PM on December 31, 2008

Knock Knock has some lovely January cards.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:00 PM on January 2, 2009

Oh yeah, and there's always Valentine's Day. I refuse to send Christmas cards (aren't I busy enough with gifts?!), but I've been known to send out some old-school grade school Valentines. Plus you're less busy then.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:01 PM on January 2, 2009

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