Christmas Card Timeline

Christmas card timeline, when to send Holiday cards, photographer mini session

If you are hardcore 'Christmas shouldn't come until after Thanksgiving' then you are probably even more perturbed that I'm talking about Holiday cards in October. BUT hear me out! In order to have your cards in the mailbox in December there is a bit of planning ahead involved. You can't exactly wait until the last minute when it comes to your Holiday cards unless you want to either be stressed or sending "Merry Christmas from our family to yours" in January.

To make things a little simpler for you, I've mapped out a timeline that starts with planning your family photo session and ends with the date you want to mail out your cards. Keep in mind that this is a conservative timeline and that sometimes there are variations that allow you to be ahead, which is amazing if that happens! I'm a big proponent of being prepared well in advance and then pleasantly surprised if things happen sooner than expected.

On average, if you are participating in a mini session offered by a local photographer or have scheduled a family photo session, it takes about two weeks to get your pictures back. It is easy to forget that there is a waiting period after your scheduled photo session! Then, after picking out your cards, you will need to consider that it takes about 1.5 to 2 weeks to receive them in the mail. So if you think of it that way, you need to be planning out at least a month in advance if you do not already have pictures ready!

Below is a specific example so you can see actual dates and the timing of everything!

If your ideal mailing date is December 12, you will need to receive your cards by December 8 to allow time for addressing and stamping if you are not planning to have addresses printed on the envelopes. Considering a two week turnaround for your Holiday cards you will need to place your order by November 25. Then working back from that you will need to schedule a photo session for early November to account for a potential 2 week photographer turnaround. 

Sending Christmas cards is a joy, and should be a joy, not a hassle! If you know what to expect, especially when it comes to turnaround times, you will be prepared and ready when it is time to start sending out happy mail come December!

So I know that October seems a bit early to be discussing these things, but I promise you, the sooner you think about it the better. You can still prepare for Christmas-y things while enjoying all things pumpkin and fall!

Your general timeline:

September to Early November: Schedule mini session with a local photographer

October to November: Pick out your Holiday card designs and order

November to December: Order your cards and mail out!

The Ivy + Linen Design Co. Holiday Collection goes live Tuesday, October 15th! You can shop photo cards, coordinating envelope liners and gift tags, and select both return and recipient addressing!

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