Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Greeting Card Etiquette

It's that time of year for exchanging holiday greeting cards. Your cards can be sent anytime after Thanksgiving and should only be sent to family or friends who are NOT receiving a gift from you. A holiday greeting card should always contain a personal greeting from you. When preparing your cards, consider the following:

~If you simply cannot resist documenting the events of the year in a newsletter, please send these only to your family and closest friends.

~Don't enclose confetti please--it's annoying!

~Never sign a card or letter "Mrs. Gibson," it may be "Janice Gibson" and underneath "Mrs. Kenneth Gibson."

~The proper way to insert a card is to hold the envelope so that you are facing the back of it. Lift the flap and place your card into the envelope faceup towards you.

~The proper spot for a return address on social correspondence is on the back flap of the envelope.

~An honorific is a complimentary title used to address a person and to denote respect. Everyone is entitled to an honorific, some are fancier than others--Mrs., Mr., Miss, Ms., Dr., Judge, Mayor, etc. Always use an honorific when addressing an envelope. I will use my name as an example. My given name at birth was Janice Kay Sessums...I married Kenneth Craig Gibson. My name is now Janice Sessums Gibson--notice that the Kay was dropped and Sessums became my middle name. This is a Southern tradition for a bride to use her maiden name as her middle name after being married. This makes it easy for people who have known you all your life to recognize your name.

~Don't address the envelope to "Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson and Family." The proper address should be--"Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson, Grace and Patrick."

~Unmarried girls are called "Miss" until age 21.

~Boys are called "Master" until age 8, then are called by their first name, and at age 21 are called "Mr. Gibson."

Use Ms. Janice Gibson, if divorced or married.

Use Ms. Janice Sessums, if married and keeping maiden name, or divorced and keeping maiden name; a divorced lady never uses "Miss."

Use Mrs. Kenneth Gibson, if married and going by husband's name, or widowed with children.

Use Mrs. Janice Gibson, only if divorced.

Use Miss Janice Sessums, if never married.

Another old Southern tradition is to keep the man's first and last name together; i.e., address/refer to us as Janice and Kenneth Gibson NOT Kenneth and Janice Gibson.

A married couple with one having a title and the wife still using her maiden name--Dr. Janice Sessums and Mr. Kenneth Gibson. If the husband is the Doctor--Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gibson.

Plurals:

Mr. - Messrs. (two or more brothers)

Mrs. - Mesdames

Miss - Misses

Ms. - Mses. or Mss.

Holiday cards are a great way to stay in touch with those we haven't seen for a long time. Be sure to Make Your Cards Memorable. It's also important to consider the recipient when choosing your cards.

I'm sending this inspirational card to my friends and family who celebrate Christmas..."Oh come let us adore Him!"

This cute card by Lilly Pulitzer, will be sent to my friends who do not celebrate Christmas, wishing them "Happy Holidays!"





Thank you for visiting with me today and please keep "Christ" in "Christmas!"

55 comments:

Miss Linda said...

Thank you so very much for this extremely informative post! You have answered some rather tricky questions for me!

Lady Katherine said...

Thanks for the card etiquette, every time I use my name and address on the envelope back, the post office is using this for the address to be sent to. I get it back, I have always addressed my envelope this way. Maybe it is because its a small town and not scanned, but sorted by hand, and the postal person does not know better?

Nancy said...

Hi Miss Janice, Thank you for posting this information! I will refer back to this when I do my cards. nancy

Preppy 101 said...

Oooh - you ARE good :) I always use Master with little boys, but honestly didn't know it was only until age 8... and Miss only till 21 - then Ms. I guess?? Love your blog :)

Lady Katherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lady Katherine said...

After you read my second comment you can delete it.

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Such wonderful information! I am always interested in the proper ways of envelope addressing as I think it is quite important. Loved this post.

Bo said...

Thank you so much for this info...I wish they would teach etiquette in school... ;-) Bo

Jen ;) said...

I love your etiquette lessons! You should check out http://threesixtyfivecards.com/ for "etiquette-friendly" card options including family photo cards for this season...can't go wrong with them as long as you leave out the confetti ;)

Thanks agian!

Kara said...

Good to know all this info. So much I had forgotten. Your never to old to learn something new...thanks so much! I have already sent cards, but will do the rest the "correct" way.

Miss Kara

Teresa Jane said...

Dear Mrs. uh Ms. uh er...Miss Janice, I am so confused.
Love, BFF

a. said...

Thanks so much for posting this - I couldn't agree more about the yearly newsletter and the confetti!

Lady Katherine said...

I have an etiquette question, I love to wear a hat in the winter. When dining out,should you take off your hat,at the table,as men do? My hair is always flat when I take my hat off. I know at tea partys, most ladies love to wear their hats.

Pink Maple said...

I just came across your blog and this post is very helpful! Thanks.

Valerie@travelingthrough2 said...

Thank you very much for the good information. I do have a question. My daughter is a nurse practitioner and kept her maiden name/professional name after she got married. How would you address this situation?
Thank you,
Valerie

ann said...

I ALSO LIKE THE IDEA OF A NEWS LETTER.I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT CONFETTI.HMMM...THANK YOU ...ANN

Lori said...

Hi Miss Janice. I am so glad you posted the card etiquette information. I needed a refresher and I learned some new things as well.

Lori

profenretraite said...

Thank you so much for the reminders. I didn't know that keeping the maiden name as a middle name was a southern thing. Interesting!...Debbie

laurie said...

I learned some things in this post. I have looked for the way to address the female dr. and her husband for years. Now that you've told me how, they are divorced! laurie

Liz said...

Oh dear! I seem to have committed several errors... repeatedly over the years. : ) Thanks for the help! I do care about these things and I'm glad you posted the information.

~Liz

Kappa Prep said...

This was a lovely post with so many great reminders. I am SO glad you pointed out the milestone letters- I am NOT a fan of getting those!

Melissa Miller said...

Hi Miss Janice, I meant to comment on this post yesterday and got sidetracked. I learned many things I did not know reading this. I always wondered why so many of my friends had their names first and then hubby's on address lines. Thanks for all this helpful information. I'm going to remember all of this. ~Melissa :)

Shelia said...

Hi Janice. OH, it's so nice to know someone know all the correstness of sending cards and addressing people! You're amazing. Oh, I'm so glad you liked my tablescapes! Are you getting settled in a bit!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Valerie@travelingthrough2 said...

Thank you so much for the clarification, for some reason I just felt guilty addressing things that way, but now I can do so with a clear conscience!
Valerie

Kathleen Ellis said...

Thank you for the refresher! It is so important to teach/learn proper etiquette for our everyday life....imagine the whole world catching on?!!!

Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment!

Glenda said...

Thanks for the reiteration of things I had forgotten and other things I did a certain way and didn't know why I did.

Sincerely Yours said...

Morning Miss Janice! Very informative! Thank you. With e-mail cards and the like people are forgetting good manners and writing skills! Hopefully this post will make everyone think for a minute before rushing through what should be an ejoyable activity (sending cards!) I agree totally with the year long updates of people's lives!lol Have a great weekend - Sincerely, Jeannette
Oh yes, thank you I do feel a lot better!!!

With Love from New Orleans said...

What would we do without you!? Your planners sound fabulous!

~ Lisa ~ said...

Thank you, kindly!

A Hint of Home said...

I keep telling my husband someone should teach an etiquette class at churches. I make my share of errors but we could all benefit from a class.
Thanks for all the tips and for your recent visit.

Miss Linda said...

Dear Miss Janice, I do hope you are getting settled into your lovely new home. I sincerely hope you will be very happy there!

a. said...

I have a very important question for you on this topic and knew you were the person to come to - if you are about to become engaged and would like to send a Christmas card to your future in-laws but have only met them a couple of times, how would you address the card? HELP!

White Iris Designs said...

WOW! What wonderful information! I see that I have been making a few errors in the past, they will be corrected this year!

Ronda said...

Thank you for you informative post. I have one question though, you say not to say Mr.& Mrs.John Owens and Family--what if you do not know the children's names? I know a lot of people I that I send cards to, and don't know all of the kid's names. Now what?

EntertainingMom said...

I always address my cards to So And So Family, unless it is a Mr and Mrs... or Honorable, or Dr. Is addressing a card to an entire family. I sincerely hope this is OK!

Beeutiful by Design said...

Miss Janice: can your holiday cards also include an open house invitation or should I send out two seperate mailings?

Princess Freckles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thepreppyprincess said...

Such good advice and insight Miss Janice, gracefully shared, as always.

Sending you a smile for the week ahead!
tp

Lindy said...

So happy to see these conventions spelled out. One of my greatest pet peeves is seeing "Mr. John and Mary Doe."

Are you saying that if a women NEVER marries, she is always a "Miss" **or** only until age 21? I'm confused by what you wrote.

Miss Janice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Janice said...

Lindy,
Use "Miss" for someone who has never been married.

Abbie said...

Thanks for the post! I have a question. We have a Christmas card going to two women who live in the same house. They are a mother and a daughter, and the mother is elderly and the daughter is probably in her 50s. How do we address this card? I've always written the older lady's name on top on the envelope, and then I write the younger daughter's name below hers and the address below that. But do you think it is more polite for me to send separate cards? I've always wondered what the proper etiquette in this situation.

Whosyergurl said...

Miss Janice,
Thank you for this very informative post! Excellent information! You are the greatest!
Cheryl in IN
WHOSYERGURL

bevysblog said...

Based on your Holiday Greeting Card Etiquette, it's nice to know that my mother "raised me right"!

Miss Janice said...

Abbie,
It's perfectly acceptable to send one card for the mother and daughter. You were correct in writing the mother's name on the first line and the daughter's name on the second line.
Miss Janice

The 5 Bickies said...

These are great reminders...especially as I sit down to address cards tonight!

Maggie said...

I'm The Rev. and my husband is Mr. What's the most graceful way to deal with this situation?

Miss Janice said...

Maggie,
The form of address on an envelope would be:

The Reverend Jane Doe and Mr. John Doe (if there's a second line...indent)
100 Main Street
Anytown, US 00000

White Gloves said...

I respectfully disagree with using Mrs. Kenneth Gibson for a woman who is divorced from Mr. Kenneth Gibson, regardless if they had children. This is the first time ever that I have disagreed with the wonderful Miss Janice. I also wonder why Miss Janice is not refered to as Ms. Janice since she is married. Anyone have the answer?

"Use Mrs. Kenneth Gibson, if married and going by husband's name, or widowed/divorced with children."

Miss Janice said...

Dear {Anonymous} White Gloves,
I stand by my forms of address, thank you very much!
Regards,
Miss Janice

Miss Janice said...

Please excuse moi, I did have a typo there! I still stand by my {Southern} form of address as: Miss Janice!

Ashley said...

When printing cards with the Family name (ex The Smiths) and you want to put the first names under that, do you list the husband's name first or the wife's?

Ashley said...

If you print Christmas cards with the family name (ex The Smiths), and you want to print the first names below that, do you print the husband's name or the wife's name first. Example: The Smiths
John, Beth, & Children
or
The Smiths
Beth, John & Children

Miss Janice said...

Ashley,

Personally, I would have printed Beth and John Smith, followed by each child's name.

Or:
The Smiths
John, Beth, and Children (But, it really doesn't matter whether the man or woman's name is printed first in this one).

This is based on the fact that the cards are printed, not signed:)

santosh said...

Hi...Your post really got me thinking man..... an intelligent piece, I must say. We provide father day cards at affordable prices.