'tis the season to be mailing christmas cards

november sends a little alarm in my head that it's time once again to organize my christmas card-sending paraphernalia: stuff that consists of boxes of christmas cards, holiday address labels and stickers, and of course, the address book. i am my family's christmas card-sending elf every year. i am not coerced to this arduous mailing task, rather, i volunteer to do it (because i love it).

when it's close to november, i look back into the family photos from favorite trips or events we did this year and choose the one that would be our official "holiday photo" to enclose in the cards that we send out to family and friends. this year, it would be our london and stonehenge photos from our trip to the UK last april.

a favorite thing i do in relation to this is buy the christmas stamps that the U.S. postal service issues every year. this year, their theme is "holiday knits."
holiday knit stampshowever, these stamps are only for domestic use...they don't issue holiday stamps for international mail. i haven't purchased these stamps yet, though.

speaking of stamps, i know so much about postal rates concerning postcards, letters, and flat-rate boxes that you'd think i'm a postal employee...but really, i'm not (perhaps i should be one, haha). it's one of the geek molecules in my brain.

because post offices around the world are busiest during the holiday season, it's wise to send christmas cards as early as possible. how early is "early" without being too early? well, consider the location of the recipient. experience has taught me that sending a card in december to someone who lives in a province in the philippines means they won't get it until AFTER we've sung "auld lang sayne." therefore, people on your mailing list who live abroad should be the first batch on your trip to the post office. as much as possible, mail the cards to those people during the last few weeks of november. for people within the united states (where i also am), the first week of december should be a good time to start mailing their cards, or generally right after thanksgiving should be fine.

this year, the very first people to send us a holiday card was my mom's former colleague in qatar who now lives in california. we received their holiday photo greeting card in OCTOBER. amazing. they had to, because the card is also an invitation to their holiday party in december, and they want to notify invitees as early as possible to arrange for requests from work and travel tickets.

now, i took advantage of a few online photo processing sites who offer free trials of their holiday photo cards. you need only upload your favorite photo, choose a design for the card, edit the text, enter the special promo code emailed to you, then pay for shipping. they then send you the card you designed online, with envelopes, ready to be mailed to family and friends.

the sites i'm speaking of are shutterfly and kodak gallery. shutterfly offered a dozen of free holiday photo cards with a code provided to catster members. for people living in the US and own a cat, i strongly suggest you open a free account at catster for your feline friend. they're generous in offering promo codes occasionally to its members to try out shutterfly products. i've created a 20-page photobook using my favorite photos for free just because i'm a catster member!

kodak gallery, on the other hand, offered 5 free holiday cards, including martha stewart's holiday cards. perhaps i should have posted this entry much earlier so you can try it out for yourselves, but the coupon code for this promo expired on nov. 6th. hehe.

now if you'll excuse me, i have to go make my list....and check it twice. :)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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