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Three years of not receiving one and you’re OFF the mailing list! Etiquette expert William Hanson reveals the do’s and don’ts of sending Christmas cards

Christmas is a time of festive spirit: exchanging gifts, holiday feasts and acts of kindness.

But there is one thing to pay particular attention to when it comes to spreading Christmas cheer, according to etiquette expert William Hanson.

Christmas cards.

‘Christmas card etiquette may not be your first thought when it comes to the festive season, yet there are plenty of do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re following best practice,’ he says.

From ‘special’ personalised cards to knowing when to remove people from your mailing list, we reveal William’s top tips, offered in conjunction with Cewe photo printing.

Etiquette expert William Hanson says: 'Christmas card etiquette may not be your first thought when it comes to the festive season, yet there are plenty of do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re following best practice' Etiquette expert William Hanson says: 'Christmas card etiquette may not be your first thought when it comes to the festive season, yet there are plenty of do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re following best practice'

Etiquette expert William Hanson says: ‘Christmas card etiquette may not be your first thought when it comes to the festive season, yet there are plenty of do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re following best practice’

William explains first of all how to decide who should receive a Christmas card and when to strike someone off the list.

‘Receiving anything through your letterbox from your nearest and dearest over the festive period is always nice and makes you feel warm inside,’ William tells his 1.4million followers in an Instagram video.

‘Christmas cards should be sent to anyone to whom you wish to express festive wishes,’ he adds.

‘You can send as many or as few as your wrists can cope with writing. That said, it is fairly standard practice amongst the more prolific card writers to keep a list of who sends you cards and who you, in turn, send to.

‘I have a rule that if I don’t get a card from someone for three years, they’re off the list, however much I may love them. You have to give to receive.’

Second, William stresses the importance of personalising every message inside your Christmas cards with the recipient’s name and your own as a sign-off.

‘What’s the point of sending cards if you can’t be bothered to pop their names down?’ he says.

‘Leaving off names doesn’t signal you’re really busy and have too many cards to write. It just reads as plain rude.’

William stresses the importance of personalising the message inside each Christmas card with the recipient's name and your own as a sign-off. 'What’s the point of sending cards if you can’t be bothered to pop their names down?' he says William stresses the importance of personalising the message inside each Christmas card with the recipient's name and your own as a sign-off. 'What’s the point of sending cards if you can’t be bothered to pop their names down?' he says

William stresses the importance of personalising the message inside each Christmas card with the recipient’s name and your own as a sign-off. ‘What’s the point of sending cards if you can’t be bothered to pop their names down?’ he says

The card’s design is important too, according to William, who is a fan of decorating Christmas cards with a photograph.

‘This is where creativity comes into play – if you have any,’ he says, adding: ‘You could simply use an arty shot from a holiday that year, perhaps a photo from a family event, or for those who have both time and talent on their hands, the product of a special shoot just for the card itself.’

And what about when to send them? William suggests sending out Christmas cards in late November and early December.

‘Although Christmas cards used to be saved for the day itself, standard practice is now to open them whenever they arrive,’ he says.

‘Sending out cards during the first week of December is normal – the last week of November for international ones.’

Speaking on Instagram, he adds: ‘If, like me, you have a rather large address book, then start writing them in late October so you’re not overwhelmed.’

William suggests being creative when it comes to personalising your Christmas cards William suggests being creative when it comes to personalising your Christmas cards

William suggests being creative when it comes to personalising your Christmas cards

For his final tip, William turns his focus to the delivery of festive cards and says ‘there is nothing wrong with hand-delivering’ them where possible to cut down on ‘rising stamp costs’.

He continues: ‘Save on the ink too, and don’t write out the recipient’s address on the envelope, just their first names.

‘If feeling a little extra, in the bottom right-hand corner, one adds “by hand”.’

A survey by Cewe suggests that receiving Christmas cards is ‘still really important’ to Britons, with 80 per cent of those questioned admitting they like them being personalised.

A quarter of those polled also said they look forward to seeing festive family photographs from their favourite celebrities as it ‘gets them in the Christmas spirit’.

Cewe, which runs the ‘world’s largest’ photography competition, is asking Britons to ‘share their festive photos that would make the perfect personalised Christmas card’.

Prizes include a ‘once in a lifetime’ family trip to Lapland in 2024 plus a £150 Cewe voucher for first place, a £100 Cewe voucher for the runner-up and a £50 Cewe voucher for third position.

Those wishing to enter should do so before November 16. Visit www.cewe.co.uk/xmas-competition

FIVE TOP TIPS FOR SENDING CHRISTMAS CARDS

1. Send a Christmas card to anyone to whom you wish to express festive wishes. If you don’t receive a card from someone for three years, take them off your mailing list.

2. Personalise every message inside your Christmas cards with the recipient’s name and your own as a sign-off.

3. Get creative with your card’s design and personalise it with a photograph.

4. Send out your Christmas cards during the first week of December – or the  last week of November for international ones.

5.  Hand-deliver your Christmas cards where possible to save on stamp costs.

Source: Etiquette expert William Hanson 

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