Post # 1
Finace and I are thinking of sending out our first holiday card together this year. Now that we have a neatly organized ist of addresses from wedding planning, feels like we have no excuse not to :). That being said, our wedding list is set up rather formally (e.g. Mr. Smtih & Mrs. Jones) and we were not intending to invite kids to the reception. However I want our holiday cards to be less formal and it’s important to me that it be addressed to the whole family e.g. The Smith-Jones Family. Particuraly in the case of blended familes, I want to make sure we’ve incorporated everyone.
There’s alot out there on traditional ettiquette, which is great, but so much advice from magainzes, etc. ignores modern families in this day in age. It’s probably the same ettiquette, and perhaps the reason i’m stuck is because in my examples below it’s the strong feminist women that are my closest friends but I want to be sure to incorporate their families in a meaningful way without stepping on any toes.
I have 3 scenarios I’d love feedback on!
1) If a couple is married w/ kids and the mom kept her last name I appreciate you’d do the “Smith-Jones Family”, that’s covered in many forums online. If the Husband is Smith and the wife chose to hyphentate so she’s legally Smith-Jones, do you still send to the Smith-Jones Family? It feels a little like you’re only including her legal last name, and alienating the husband rather than the first example where you’re proactively including the wife. But I’m always at risk of overanalyzing :).
My next two questions are very similar, but involves blended families who may or may not be married:
2) Ms. Brown marries Mr. Jones, father of 2 children (who become step children of the now Mrs. Brown). I am thinking I would again address to the Jones-Brown Family. i.e. “his name-her name family”, rather than “her name – his name family,” or which feels the most unnatural: Mrs. brown & Jones family.
3) Ms. Carter is quite seriously dating Ms. White, mother of 2. They are not formally married, but for all intents and purposes are just as much a cohesive unit. Would I address to the Carter-White Family?
Thanks for your input!
Post # 2
Why not just use first names?
Christmas cards are a big thing in the UK and I will use first names in the card. On the envelope I either do The Smith Family (if they all have the same name) Mr Smith and Ms Jones (if they are unmarried) or to just one person in the family if it is more complicated (my cousins each have 3 children where one has a different surname to the others and they are either married / divorced so I just address the envelope to my cousin)
IMO – the names in the card are more important than the names on the envelope.
Post # 3
newbee73 : Would it be ok for the envelope to say Debbie&Paul et al (do away with the surnames, since these are your friends) and then you can name everyone in the card in the handwritten bit?
I get that you want it to be done “properly” but I’m not sure people pay as much attention to the envelope as they do to the heartfelt words their friend has written in a card.
Post # 4
newbee73 : Do your friends really care about things like this? I couldn’t imagine anyone I know taking offense to the wording on the envelop. You’re stressing for nothing!
Post # 5
newbee73 : I think this could actually vary depending on the people. I have friends that got married and kept their names but they have a “celebrity couple” name that everyone has jokingly called them for years so we all keep using that. Some we hyphenate. Some I know that the mom actually likes being “The Smith Family” even though she didn’t change her name. Figure out their preferences and make notes so it’s easier next year!
Post # 6
Thanks for the feedback.
I am using first names / nick names where I feel comfortable. We ordered “personalized” holiday cards from one of those sites shutterfly/minted type sites which in turn makes them a little less personalized since we won’t be hand writing messages on them to our family or friends. Had they had that personal touch, I wouldn’t be as worried at all, but the envelope is our only chance to honor their relationships. It feels a little weird in the scenarios above if I did “Susie, Jane and Kids” or “Sharon, Mike, Mike Jr. and Julie” on the address envelope.
I would address to just the person I’m closest with, but I feel like it’s a nice touch to inculde their loved ones too. I know if I get a card to me and my fiance it feels like a nice touch compared to one addressed only to me.
Everyone’s take is different, but would love feedback from those who send out custom cards vs. the kind you buy and write in. Thanks!
Post # 7
newbee73 : Even if you have pre printed them can’t you write in ‘To xxxx’ at the top? I would find it really weird to get a completely printed christmas card without even my name written on it…. but then that isn’t really done here. It is an annual pain / pleasure to write your christmas cards.
Post # 8
Maybe its an american thing, but here in ireland i cant imagine getting a card with nothing written on it. I just wouldnt see the point…in sending or receiving anything, if you arent actually saying anything in it. Id prefer to receive a happy xmas text than a generic empty card.
Im really not a fan of those ‘custom’ cards that have the person’s pictures on them or a ‘happy xmas from the smiths’ type greeting…and then not actually have a personalised message on them. I find them really self centred, like the sender is more interested in their picture/name being on display in someones elses house than on actually sending a message to the recepient.
Post # 9
I have never heard of someone sending mass printed Christmas cards.
Is it just a picture of you on the front?
Or a generic Christmas design?
Post # 10
Could you get a second small blank flat card as well so you can write a short message? I feel like it’s a bit impersonal to not even have, “merry christmas, love X and Y!” It kind of defeats the purpose of sending the card in my opinion. (may vary regionally I guess though?)
As for your original question – when we were sending our wedding invites we just did “the Smith Jones Family” (with no hyphen) for any family with multiple last names in the household.
Post # 11
I don’t think I have ever gotten a photo Christmas card, without a personal message. Either something written within/on the back or else a little note on just plain paper tucked with it.
For mailing purposes, I often just skip the kids in the address. When doing the ‘family’ option though, the only one I would change is one – I would see them as all being included as the Smiths, although I also know the people where I would do this with would see it that way too.
Post # 12
It’s very common in the US to order pre-printed cards, usually it has a greeting like, “Merry Christmas Love, Husband, Wife, Kid, Dog”, but it doesn’t address the recipient.
Sounds like it’s not traditional outside the US, but very very common here. The vast majority of the cards i receive every year are this way.
Post # 13
Might be common but it sounds like the laziest thing in the world. Like’ Im pretending youre important enough to wish a happy christmas but i really dont want the effort of even writing your name on this card never mind a message. Hope you are suitably impressed with our pictures/personalised cards and put them on display in your house for the next few weeks’.
Post # 14
newbee73 : “Sounds like it’s not traditional outside the US, but very very common here.” — This is onlly common when the card is from your insurance agent or your boss’s boss. When you’re sending something to friends and family, you should absolutely write a little note inside, or at least add the recipient’s names to the card.
“the envelope is our only chance to honor their relationships.” — This is not what envelopes are for. The envelope has one purpose only — to make sure your mail gets to the right home. It seems so strange and backwards that you want to complicate what is supposed to be the functional part, but insist that you can’t personalize what is supposed to be the personal part.
The answer is simple: Put everyone’s preferred name on the card and then address the envelope to the person you’re closest to “and Family”. It really is that easy.
Post # 15
I could write a ton on this but I will just say this: I have two last names: mine and his, no hyphen. If we get letters without my name on them, I tell my husband to fix this immediately or I won’t respond, go or whatnot. (I say I tell my husband because it’s only his (and therefore american) friends and family who come up with the idea of leaving my name out). I actually told him if he continues to leave my name out to shorten things I will change back to just my name. I feel it’s rude to cut out someone’s name out as it has been suggested somehwere higher up in the thread.
I get the idea of xyz-Family but it just might be easier to go with Ms. A(B) and Mr. B (& Family)