Deciding who should receive Christmas cards can be a difficult process. Should you send a card to a new business associate or the neighbor down the street, for instance? In general Christmas cards should be sent, first and foremost, to family and friends who celebrate Christmas. Friends who do not celebrate Christmas may not be overly appreciative of receiving Christmas cards.
One can certainly send more generic holiday cards to friends and business associates. Especially if sending a card to a relatively new acquaintance, it may be better to send a "Seasons Greetings" card, than an overtly religious card, so as not to offend new acquaintances who may practice a different religion.
There are numerous Christmas cards that avoid overt references to religion, and these may be a good choice for those with whom one has only a short acquaintance. As well, these types of Christmas cards are good choices with those one knows who are definitely not Christian and would not appreciate Christian sentiment. A Jewish or Islamic friend, for example, may not appreciate biblical references from the New Testament. Though, the Islamic friend is less likely to be offended, since Jesus is considered an important prophet in the Muslim religion.
When making a card list, it is a good idea to reference cards one has received in the past. In fact, when taking down Christmas cards from the year before, note names and addresses of people who have sent one cards. This way, one can add them to the Christmas card list for the next year.
As well, if one receives a card early in the season from an unexpected source, consider adding that person to one’s list for the same year and quickly sending out a card. Most who send Christmas cards, generally expect to get a card in return. So it is considered polite to observe this custom.
Many couples send out a holiday newsletter along with Christmas cards. This may be fine for close acquaintances and family, but should be omitted in cards to business associates and very new acquaintances. The holiday newsletter is a great way for friends and family to catch up on past major events of the year, but a business associate probably neither wishes to know, or cares that it took one’s wife 25 hours of labor to produce a new child.
Even a family member may not wish to know this, so keep such news breezy and not specifically detailed. A statement like “We were happy to welcome the birth of our new baby boy, Jeremy, on July 25th,” is considered more polite than a long account of a woman’s labor.
As well, many etiquette experts frown on including statements about multiple vacations or on acquiring luxury items that would demonstrate wealthy status, since not everyone is similarly circumstanced. A single important vacation might be mentioned. Consider “After many years of planning, we finally got to visit Rome,” rather than “We were able to visit Rome in June, and then spent three weeks in September touring the Wine Country in our new Mercedes Benz.”
Ultimately, the decision about who should receive Christmas cards rests with the individual. Some people send cards to large numbers of family and friends, and others save cards for a few friends or family members they won’t see during the Christmas season. It is polite to reciprocate other’s gestures of sending a card. As well, if one likes receiving Christmas cards, consider sending them. Those who do not send Christmas cards are likely to receive very few.