Last week I wrote about eliminating unwanted mail from your mailboxes (Incidentally, PaperKarma has added a subscription to their “Free App” that I didn’t know about. Apparently new users have a $9.99 annual subscription required to use the service after the first 5 “trials.” I didn’t know about the change. For me it has always been completely free. You’ll have to decide if an empty mailbox is worth $9.99 in your house. I don’t think you’d need more than one year – almost all of my junk mail was eliminated in the first three months.)

Anyway – this week I want to write about mail I enjoy filling my mailbox. The mail I want to see.

Christmas Newsletters and Annual Family Updates.

I always enjoy getting the news from folks I don’t connect with very often through the year. Often it gives us a starting point when we do get to connect. It’s not like we have to start all over and get caught up on all that’s happened between visits. We already know a good bit of the in-between stuff.

However, I don’t always enjoy writing ours.  It’s an odd phenomenon for a writer… dreading writing, but there you have it. I do.

A few years ago we came up with a solution. I have each person in our family write a section on what they want to report about their year. I only have to write an update on the important things from my own life.  My husband and kids are blessed to have the things important to them included. I didn’t always hit the mark on what they deemed important when I wrote about them on their behalf.

So, here we are in late October, working on our Christmas letter, but we aren’t actually writing the letter yet.

This is the week to get our Christmas envelopes addressed and stamped and tucked away. We do it by setting up an assembly line of folks who enjoy doing stickers. An envelope’s first stop is the return address sticker. The second stop is the mailing address sticker. And the final stop is the postage stamp. (Pro tip: be sure to pull any international envelopes out ahead of time, so you can put specific postage on those.)

If you don’t want to be caught scrambling to write a Valentine’s update (yes, I really did this one year!), you might like to follow along with us. We aim to drop our letters in the mail on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Update Letter Schedule Announcement

Here’s our schedule for the rest of the letter/card process, in case you’d like to join us.

(In September we bought envelopes, postage, and labels. We also verified addresses and updated our mailing list. So if you haven’t done those two steps, do them this week and then pick up with the schedule next week and you’ll be right on track.)

Thursday, October 23
Print labels for Christmas Letter

Friday, October 24
Address and Stamp envelopes for Christmas Letter {and wish my awesome nephew a Happy Birthday! 🙂 }

Friday, November 7
Write Christmas Letter

Monday, November 10
Take picture for Christmas Letter
Order prints of picture for Christmas Letter {These will arrive by mail or be picked up when I run weekly errands.}

Monday, November 17
Finalize and print Christmas Letter (Notice we had more than a week to write and edit – it doesn’t always happen in one sitting!)

Tuesday, November 18
Fold and stuff Christmas Letter & picture.
Seal envelopes for Christmas Letter
{Again, this is usually an assembly line – one person folds the letter, then next slips in a picture, the next slips it in an envelope, and the last uses a dampened sponge piece to wet and seal the envelopes.}

Friday, November 28
Mail Christmas Letters

Monday, December 1
Relax and enjoy the cards and letters that begin arriving – without the nagging reminder that ours needs to be finished! 🙂