Do you still send Christmas cards? Many people have stopped doing it for a variety of reasons: postage has gotten so expensive; not enough time; too boring a task; too complicated a task to bring to completion.
I have found stacks of partially addressed Christmas cards in many clients’ homes. On one occasion it was July when I found cards from the previous year, and I inquired about the possibility of pitching the cards–since it seemed too late to send them. When it became apparent that my client really wanted to complete them, but just couldn’t seem to get the task done, I offered to help her do it. We did just that! When we finished I suggested that we schedule a couple of sessions that coming fall to make sure she got her cards out before Christmas that year.
I’d been doing my own cards for decades, but it wasn’t until I did it with my client that became very clear that part of the problem with Christmas card completion is that it’s a task with many steps, and it’s easy to get stuck on any one of them. To get the task done, we divided up the parts of the process between the two of us. She did the tasks that could only be done by her. I did all the other tasks, particularly those that were more boring and repetitious.
The steps she had to take were: get a good photo of her children, order reprints of the photo, write her Christmas letter, copy the letter, print the labels and sign all the cards. I picked up all the other tasks that my client didn’t have to do, like folding the Christmas letter, stamping the envelopes, attaching address labels and return address labels, and putting one Christmas letter in each Christmas card so all my client had to do was add a short note and sign each card.
Because our division of labor worked so well the first time, that client regularly schedules time with me to do her cards every year. I enjoy listening to Christmas music while I work, and my client appreciates having a deadline for getting her letter done and copied, her labels done, her photo done and copied, her cards purchased and for making sure she has sufficient stamps and return address labels. It’s more difficult to procrastinate doing her cards when she knows I’m coming over to help her get them done and she’s paying for my help.
Every year since we first started doing her cards together she’s gotten her cards out before Christmas. And, because sending cards to family and friends is really important to her, getting them out of the way early in the holiday season is a real weight off her shoulders. Once they are done she is able to move on to other tasks and more fully enjoy the holiday season without the weight of incomplete Christmas cards looming over her.
If sending and receiving holiday greetings is important to you, identify someone who would be willing to help you complete that multi-step process. Make doing your cards a social event that is part of your holiday traditions instead of a dreaded chore. It’s a great investment in maintaining important relationships!