December 7, 2018 8:08 pm

How to avoid some Christmas card faux pas

In an era of personalized greetings, some experts share pointers on how to make the most of your holiday cards and avoid common mistakes. Erin Chalmers reports.

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Sending out holiday Christmas cards has become more personalized. While we know it’s the thought that counts, here are some tips to make the most of your good wishes and avoid those Christmas faux pas.

Grammar mistake

A former English teacher in Ohio posted a video explaining what she calls “the most common grammar mistake” she sees on Christmas cards.

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“If you want to pluralize your last name, all you do is add an ‘s’, not an ‘apostrophe s’,” said Heather Breedlove Nianouris. On Friday afternoon, her grammar lesson had been viewed nearly 15 million times.

For example, a card should say “Merry Christmas from the Smiths” (no apostrophe). For names that end in ‘s, x, sh, ch or z’, add ‘es’ to pluralize.

Nianouris said even card companies get it wrong sometimes.

“I believe that intention is always more important than execution,” she said.

“But we are spending a lot of money to send Christmas cards. And if you are a mom, you know how hard it is to organize those outfits and the bribery that goes into that.

“So why not make them as correct as possible?”

Picture perfect

Jason Symington, a professional photographer in Edmonton and a professor at MacEwan University, said don’t set your expectations too high when it comes to achieving the perfect photo, especially when kids are involved.

“Understand where your family is at and then accept that,” Symington said.

READ MORE: Canada Post parcel delays may impact Christmas gifts in Saskatchewan

His advice is to plan in advance for how you envision your photo to look.

“This is how I’d like it to look and then execute it. As opposed to here’s a nice place, everybody stand here and do this,” he said.

“Shoot for a goal as opposed to hoping to get something.”

Also, he said if the photo is about the people, versus the environment, make sure you get in close and focus on faces.

What about design?

We spoke with an Edmonton graphic designer who says to pick a design that reflects the family.

“Simplicity is always a good thing, but try to reflect your style,” Jenelle Gartner of J. Gartner Studio said. “That might be different for everyone.”

Although it increases the workload, Gartner said it’s preferred if you write a personal message by hand in every card. However, she said social etiquette has been evolving to the point where electronic cards are appropriate.

“Make sure people are getting it a week or two before Christmas,” she said.

Due to the backlog from the rotating strikes, Canada Post is not able to guarantee delivery dates. Gartner suggests considering sending New Year’s cards.


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