Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Addressing Christmas Cards

I have Christmas cards on the brain, although I haven't ordered mine, or even picked out a picture for that matter. Here's one (by the wonderful Hailey Erickson that I don't think I'm using, although it delights me to no end.

No, this photo is not doctored. My tiny man is truly that charming.

{And my mouth is definitely that large.}

One thing that always plagues me while addressing my Christmas cards is how to write names properly on the front for my friends with families. Is it too informal to address it to "The Smith Family?" Should I say "Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Family" leaving their children anonymous? So many options, but which one is correct?

So being that I'm thinking about this pre-card order, I thought I would look up the rules so there would be no more guessing. Here's a summary I grabbed via Emily I know that is always right. Ahem.

Mr. John Smith
Ms. Jane Smith

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

Married, both Doctors or PhDs:
The Doctors Smith

Married, she outranks her husband:
Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith

If you have any other addressing relationships not listed below, most likely, they cover it there, with one major exception--the one thing I wanted to know.

So, I'm throwing this out to you, Internet Friends. How do you address an informal Christmas card to a family? If you send it to just Mr. and Mrs. Smith, then you are ignoring the children. That seems like a terrible idea. Here are the options:

a. Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family
b. The Smith Family
c. Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Sally and John Jr. Smith

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Bonus points with Internet citation.


  1. Emily Post can kiss it. I'm sick to death of being "Mrs. Captain Paul Fischer." I do have a name, and it is Elizabeth. Or Liz. Even Captain and Mrs. Fischer is fine, but if his first name is on there and not mine, I feel like a possession, not a partner.

    Whew. Rant over.

    That being said, kids exist, so I usually do the "Smith Family" version and if a kid or two has a different last name from the parents, I do the parent(s) up top with the kids underneath. It's probably completely incorrect, but it's how we do it. =)

  2. Since Christmas cards are casual, I vote for "B. The Smith Family" - mainly because I don’t want to keep up with all the kids (some in our family have a new name to add to the list every year) and how to spell all the kid’s names (with some of these names you never know!). I stand less chance of messing something up if I stick with the family name only!

  3. No citation. BUT I always put "The Smith family." No complaints thus far.

  4. I LOVE that picture - I think it'd be fun to use!

    Honestly, I address based on context and relationship. Anyone with kids is "The XXX Family" - after all, that is what they are: a family.

    Close married friends are usually Joe and Jane Smith. Sometimes I use the Mr. and Mrs. but rarely.

    I am way more formal with work folks and/or my parents' friends.

  5. Confession: I love being addressed as Mrs. And I also pride myself on being a rule follower, which is why I am bugged {BUGGED} to no end that I do not know the "rule" for this.

    But like you ladies, I usually write "The Smith Family." :)

  6. Ok, I'm going against the grain... and going with:
    John and Mary Smith, Bobby and Susan (kids) all on one line.

    Informal, but still addressing everyone... Personally I like to see my own kids' names there too. But I don't take offense no matter how one addresses it, the fact they sent it is enough.

  7. Deanna, sometimes I spell the kids names out. Most people on my list who have kids have small children. Maybe it's being the mother of an elementary school teacher, but I usually print their names too so they can read it when they get the mail. It all plays out very happily in my mind. ;)

  8. I would be so thrilled to receive a Christmas card with a photo like that. Your baby boy is just too handsome.

    I too am a Rule Follower, but I just address this sort of card as "The X Family". I figures that captures parents & kids; for friends with different last names, I address it, "The X-Y Family".

  9. I'm always beyond offended when cards are addressed Mr. & Mrs. [my husband's name] [his last name -- which I have not officially taken yet]. My whole identity is not wrapped into being my husband's wife... I probably just need to let it go, but that's my rant for the morning!

  10. I just received 4 cards for Mr & Mrs. Jim - from people I talk to or see almost weekly!!! I agree kick some etiquette butt people it's 2013, not 1950. People don't get married and lose their identity. Send cards to The Family, or use both of our names. If you want kids to see their names on cards (ok admit it - do you wait til your kids get home to let them open cards ???) then send them their own cards. Otherwise family is fine. When I got married the state didn't change my first name - why should friends and family???

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