Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Greeting Card Etiquette Reminders

It's that time of year for exchanging holiday greeting cards.  I always get e-mails about greeting card etiquette and thought I would go over some of the rules again.

Your cards can be sent anytime after Thanksgiving {or before Thanksgiving for Chanukah cards} 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 close 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.


Mr. - Messrs. {two or more brothers}

Mrs. - Mesdames

Miss - Misses

Ms. - Mses. or Mss.

Holiday cards a great way to stay in touch with those we haven't seen for a long time and I always try to send an appropriate card for each recipient.

I'm sending this inspirational card to my friends and family who celebrate Christmas..."For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11.  The message inside reads:  "May Jesus be the light of your world and the joy in your heart this Christmas and always."

This card will be sent to those who do not celebrate Christmas..."Seasons Greetings!"   The message inside reads:  "Every good wish for happiness at the holidays and throughout the new year!"

This is the card I'm sending to my friends of the Jewish faith...wishing them "Happy Chanukah!"

Get your cards ready and mail them early.  It's okay to stop sending cards to those who have not sent you a card in several years, but please remember to continue to send greeting cards to the homebound and elderly!


eHa said...

Is the plural for Doctors Drs.?

Also, how should one address letters to lawyers? Would it be Ms. Jane Smith, Esq. and Mr. Joe Smith or vice versa. Would would be done if both Jane and Joe were lawyers?

Thank you! This reminded me to address my cards! I like to have mine out to everyone by the time Hanukkah begins.

Christine @ Suburban Charm said...

Great post! I make a point to teach my children proper etiquette on an ongoing basis. It's unfortunate that so many parents don't feel that etiquette is important...thank you for sharing your expertise!

Miss Janice said...

eHa, The plural for the form of address of Doctors is Drs.

Lawyers are addressed socially as Mr. and Mrs.

Monique Lehnhardt said...

I hadn't heard previously that you should not send a card to family members or friends who will also receive a present later. Why? I'm sure there is a reason.

Miss Janice said...

I wouldn't send a Christmas card to someone who is receiving a gift from me because their greeting will be attached to their gift.
Miss Janice

LC said...

I'm late in commenting but this was very informative! I always learn so much about etiquette from your posts! Thanks for sharing!

MandySue said...

Oops, I've been calling my friends mrs first name last name for years, thanks for this info!

MandySue said...

Oops! I've been addressing my friends as mrs first name last name for years, thanks for this info!

Kathie Truitt said...

A friend of mine recently got married and was so excited that she got a congratulatory letter from the White House. It was addressed:

Mr. and Mrs. John and Susie Jones

I wanted to die but of course I never said a word to her. You'd think the White House of all places would know.

Miss Janice said...

"Mr. and Mrs. John and Susie Jones?" Oh Kathie, I'm clutching my pearls!