This post is sponsored by Hallmark Card Rewards.
I have the dubious honor in my family of being the person who forgets birthdays.
The thing is, I don't forget birthdays. I've got calendars and reminders all queued up. What I forget is to send birthday cards.
Yeah, there are phone calls and ecards and Facebook birthday messages, but it's just not the same. I know because I come from a family of devoted card-senders.
I grew up getting a card every year from my grandmother, mom, and aunts. I still get cards every year. My grandmother passed away many years ago, and every now and then I stumble upon one of her old, dime-store cards. The sight of her cursive "Love, Nana" fills me with warmth.
I find myself at a fork in the road.
I could go the way of guilt and self-recrimination for dropping the ball (I admit to treading this path already) or I could take the brighter route and come up with a way to help myself remember to send birthday cards to my family.
I choose the more productive path.
I give you: my plan for sending birthday cards on time.
Part 1: Remembering dates
1. Decide who gets a birthday card every year.
My list is intentionally short. Close family members with a focus on the younger relatives. I am NOT sending a birthday card to every friend, relative or aquaintance. I can always add people to the list later on.
2. Put birthdays into your calendar.
Set to "repeat yearly."
3. Set mailing date reminders.
Add a 5-day advance reminder to each birthday. This is the reminder to put the card in the outgoing mail. If you have family living overseas, give them longer reminders.
4. Update mailing addresses.
Note address changes in your contact file so you're ready to roll on card sending day.
5. Buy stamps.
Thank you, USPS, for the Forever Stamp. Pick up some international postage if you need it.
Part 2: Stockpiling cards
1. Designate a holding area for your cards.
A shoebox, an accordion file sectioned by month, a special "birthday card holder." Whatever. It just needs to be big enough to hold several months' worth of cards.
2. When you come across "the perfect card" for one of the people on your list, buy it.
This brings back memories of my childhood. My mom and I used to hang around in the card section at the drugstore searching for just the right card. It was always a funny one.
Of course, this works as well for homemade cards. Or you can skip this step and keep a bunch of blank cards on hand, but I think the "right card" search is part of the fun.
3. Label the card with the recipient's name (Post-It note works well) and throw it into the card holding area.
You're all set! When a birthday reminder pops up, grab that person's card, sign, address and mail!
* * *
I'm letting myself off the perfection hook because I know myself well enough to recognize that I might still forget a card or two. So maybe this system isn't 100% foolproof, but it's a big improvement.
I hope you find it helpful, too.
My thanks to sponsor Hallmark Card Rewards for prompting me to think my card-sending system all the way through. I'm excited to put it into action.
From Hallmark Card Rewards: Get rewarded everywhere you buy Hallmark cards, at more than 30,000 grocery and drug stores and supercenters across the U.S. Earn 1 reward for every 5 Hallmark cards purchased. Rewards include gift cards, discounts, dollars off, and more from rewards partners, which you can track using a mobile app. Register today.