Monday, March 17, 2008

How to Remember All Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays

Everyone likes to feel special—it’s part of our human nature! Why not develop a personal system that remembers birthdays, family and friends wedding anniversaries and a schedule that sends holiday cards on time, every year, so that the process is fun, rather than, a dreaded experience!.

Friends and acquaintances are amazed by my ability to remember everyone’s birthday or anniversary—some cannot believe that I actually have these dates written down. The days of having the ability to remember what I had for breakfast yesterday are long past (“Al” Alzheimer and I are becoming faster than I want friends these days!).. I do, however make it a point to remember and record those significant dates when I meet new acquaintances . I record a person’s birthday and mailing/email address into my Pocket PC phone device, which I later sync with my computer at home.

In the days before computers, that kind of recording was transferred year-to-year ,by hand, into my “little black book”, and honestly , I miss those times. If, for some reason you forgot a birthday, you at least had the excuse that you did not glance at your Day Timer. Now the cell phone will ring, the computer will have pop-up menus, and unless one is visually and auditory-impaired, there is no excuse TODAY!

When my first child was born, I decided that I would send a holiday card, along with her photograph, every year to all of my family and friends. My husband thought I was a bit crazy and he would say, “ . . . besides, no one appreciates all your hard work and effort,” but I strongly disagreed. Almost twenty years later (and equal number of holiday cards delivered), I can only say that as my immediate circle of family and friends grew, so too did the number of holiday cards in my mailbox. Most of my family and friends thought it was a great idea to keep in touch and they too, reciprocated by sending photographs of their growing family. And “God forbid . . . ” someone did not receive a holiday card—I would never hear the end of it!

Many years ago I designed a system for sending holiday cards on time which included the participation of the entire family. I have refined this system over the years, and by doing so I no longer have to worry about being late and stressed. Everyone of my four children remind me in November that we need to discuss the design and place the order for our cards. A few years ago, they not only ordered them, but they began designing the cards themselves—in other words they took over the process and were proud of their work—I was too! As a matter of fact, that is how my son became computer savvy—he had no choice in the matter. Each year I wanted a “unique” card, and each year ended up being better than the prior one. I certainly did not want to pay top prices for someone else to design it when I had the recourses right at home! My son’s only alternative was to learn how to work the graphs of his computer.

I promise you that if you follow these simple steps, the holiday card writing process will be very easy and rewarding for everyone in the family—it is a great activity for all ages!

Please keep in mind that Chanukah has different date of celebration every year, some times it is as early as the first week of December, because the celebration lasts eight days even if you mail out your cards on the 7th of December you will still be on time.



Decide as a family if you are going to use a group photograph on your holiday card. If so, make sure you take that picture no later than during the Thanksgiving break—the children are homework free and are spending lots of time at home.

* BY November 30th :Process and chose a photograph,. Print as many as needed.

* BY December 1st: Buy a “ready” card so that the photo can be pasted on. Buy cards inexpensively at Costco or any other discount store. Keep in mind you can get a “super deal” if you buy cards right after the holidays and store them for the following year—it’s a double bonus!

* BY December 3rd:Update your address book constantly throughout the year be diligent about this. If you have followed this advice you will accomplish two things; your address book is current and up-to-date; and when you need your address book during the hectic holidays you do not have to hunt down every little piece of scrape paper you secretly stored –the information is ready at a “click”.
Once you have your updated list, print out the information along with labels or envelopes that you plan to use.

* BY December 5th: One night after homework, gather your children around the dining room table (remember any child 3-years or older can participate). Place the youngest in charge of pasting the picture on the front or inside cover of the card (depending on the layout everyone agreed to). If it is a little off center—everyone you send the card to will know it was made by the loving hands of your future graphic artist-in-training,
Rachael (age 4). Have them place the labels and stamps on each envelop.

* BY December 6th: Now take this stack of “done” cards and envelops and gather around the table one last time and have everyone sign each card along with a personal greeting from you.Place each card in its’ appropriate envelope, and place a check mark on your list of names and addresses that was printed earlier. (do not seal the envelop just yet)

You are now ready to send you cards, so why are they not sealed? Well, it is only December 6th, if you are sending your cards for Christmas you have at least two weeks to get them sent out on time. What if someone had something special happen to them from the time that you addressed the card? Or what if that someone became sick, or is feeling blue? Built into this system is flexibility to add, at the last minute, words of encouragement and care.

When you seal each card (a chore that your children or grandchildren love doing), make sure to place the second check mark on the printed sheet, with the names and addresses, just to make sure that you have addressed, stamped, & sealed each card. Now, go deliver them to the post office!

Birthday and Anniversary Cards

Buying cards in bulk is a real score. Whenever I see a nice box of “Thank You”, “Birthday” or “Anniversary” cards, I buy few boxes at a time. And always remember to have plenty of stamps on hand either in a roll of 100’s or in decorative sheets.

Costco sells card sets for $15.00 dollars, and hand-made varieties for every occasion. This is a great value, and the cards are awesome!

I do not send a birthday card to everyone in my address book. Just like most of us we are all too busy. However, there are a few people in life that deserve some recognition. For those in that “special” category I take the time, placing “life” on hold for 5 minutes, and write a hand-written wish for them on their birthday or anniversary.

To do this, print your calendar on the first of each month. Select the ones that will receive cards, address them, write you wishes, place a sticker on which day the card has to be mailed, but again, do not seal the card. Remember, anything can happen between the 1st of the month to the time that you go to the post office.. This way a few special lines can be added to your greeting without having to re-write the card.

On the correct day mail the card (allow for 2 days for local delivery and 5 days for across the country), and call on the day of the birthday or anniversary. Guaranteed you will not only make their day, but yours as well!

REMEMBER—this method works if you actually follow it!

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