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The do's and don'ts of sending holiday cards

Buff Strickland

In Styles' new book, "Camille Styles Entertaining: Inspired Gatherings and Effortless Style," the lifestyle blogger shares tips for entertaining all year long. As you prepare to send out your holiday cards, here are Styles' tips for keeping the sentiments merry, bright and appropriate.

I love sending cards each year — it’s the perfect time to pen a simple note to the people I care about, many of whom live far away. But all too often the act of sending cards can be fraught with stress (yet another thing to check off the to-do list at this busy time of year!). Here are a few dos and don’ts to make this year’s card-sending process the most joyful yet.

1. DON’T brag. If you’re sending a newsletter-style card, it’s great to include exciting info about members of the family, but don’t make it all about trophies, wins and bragging rights. The goal here is not to impress the recipients on your list but rather to share the experiences and opportunities for growth that made the year unforgettable.

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2. DO include a photo (but only if you want). People love to see how members of your family have changed over the year. Whether your son shot up four inches or your husband decided to grow a beard, it’s a great chance to give everyone a visual update. Before Adam and I had kids, we always sent cards with a cool design and meaningful message, but now that Phoebe’s on the scene, I’ve realized how much our recipients love a card with a photo so they can follow along with her growth each year.

3. DON’T overshare. Since the gesture of sending holiday cards is all about spreading joy and love, it’s usually not the place to vent grievances, make a big political statement or announce a major health issue. Keep it real, but focus on the positive.

4. DO proofread all envelopes and greetings. Even if it means having someone else edit your work, try to avoid misspelling anyone’s name.

5. DON’T put too much pressure on yourself. I used to think that I had to hand address every single envelope, since I thought it looked so much prettier than printing out the labels. The problem was that by the time I finished writing over a hundred names and addresses, my hand was cramping and my brain was so fried that I had no energy left to write “Love, Camille,” much less something more personal. Since this time of year can be so busy, it’s really important to prioritize what’s most important to you . . . and let the rest go. This year, I decided that I wanted to send a short, personal note with each of my cards, so I opted to get my addresses printed on the envelopes. Problem solved!

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6. DO start early! Sending out cards takes time, so in order to avoid a stress-fest or staying up until two o’clock in the morning to stamp and seal, start the process earlier than you think you need to. I have a tradition of getting most of my cards written, addressed, and ready for mailing during the long Thanksgiving weekend. When everyone’s settled into their turkey coma, I curl up in front of the fire with my cards and a cup of tea — such a soothing ritual to kick off the holiday season.

This was adapted from "Camille Styles Entertaining" by Camille Styles. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007.

This article was originally published Dec.12, 2014 on TODAY.com.

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