Create Your Own Christmas Card Database: Tutorial

Even though sending out Christmas cards may not be the most frugal activity, I love to receive cards from my friends and family (so I assume they like to receive them from me…and see how our boys have grown over the last year).  Plus, I have many friends that I may only communicate with through our Christmas card (although that’s changing more and more with Facebook).

Although I would love to hand write every address for my Christmas cards (and include a handwritten note), I just don’t have time to do that for the 60+ cards that I send to friends and family each year.  So several years ago, I developed a Christmas card database that I use to keep track of my Christmas card list and to print out address labels.

I thought I would share the procedure for creating your own “database” and mail merge label document.

Christmas Card Database Tutorial

  • Open the Christmas Card spreadsheet.  It contains all the fields that I use for my Christmas cards.
  • Click File, Download As, and choose Excel.  Now you have a copy on your computer to add all your information.
  • Once you have entered all your data, save the file.
  • Open a Word document
  • In Word, choose Tools, Letters & Mailings, Mail Merge Wizard
  • The wizard is on the right-hand column.  Choose Labels for document type and click Next
  • Choose Change Document Layout and then click on Label Options.
  • Choose the labels you plan to print to (the number should be on the box) and click OK
  • Click Next – Select Recipients
  • Click Use an Existing List and browse for your Christmas Card spreadsheet you saved from the earlier steps
  • Click Next – Arrange Your Labels
  • Choose More Items and add the fields that you want to print on your label such as First Name, Last Name, etc.  As you add the items, you will see them in the first label.  You can add the line breaks when you’ve added all the fields.
  • Once the first label is formatted like you want, click Update all Labels and your fields will show up on all labels.
  • Click Next Preview Your Labels and your recipients information should show up
  • Click Next Complete the Merge.  You can choose to send the labels directly to the printer or to a new document.  I usually choose a new document since I keep it as a record of who I actually mailed to already.
  • Save your document to use next year.

That’s it.  Please leave a comment if you have any questions, and I’ll reply to your comment.  You should only have to set up the database and mail merge document once and then be able to edit as needed and use each following year.  Although it creates some up-front work with entering the information, it saves lots of time in the years to follow.

Do you still send out Christmas cards?  If you do, how do you address the cards…handwritten, labels?  For more frugal ideas, please visit Life As Mom.

Photo by nkzs

Comments

  1. WOW- I am so impressed. The thing I love about these blogs is that I am finding out I am not the only anal one in the world. I have been using this format for many years and it is the BEST! Im so impressed that you shared step by step for everyone. What a great gift.
    .-= Mindy´s last blog ..Road Trip- Part 3 =-.

  2. Jennifer Moore says:

    I do 130 Christmas cards every year and I hand-write every envelope and sign every card. I think if my friend doesn’t have 2 minutes to address a card & sign it, that is so tacky! I do work F/T, so I make the time to do all 130 cards. I pop in a movie or two and listen to it while I do my cards… I also use Christmas postage stamps, use holiday themed return address labels and add stickers to the envelopes… and a red ink pen. The process take about 4 days (a couple hours each day), but I love the way they look afterward and I know my friends appreciate the time I took on them.

  3. To be honest I don’t send many Christmas cards any more. Only to a few older relatives who don’t use computers and would miss getting a card. For everybody else, I keep in touch through email and Facebook throughout the year anyway, so I just sent e cards.
    I’m never really sure what to do with pictures of other people’s kids…..I’m not going to frame them or pt them in an album so should I keep them ( and never look at them again). It seems rude but most practical to toss them after I’ve looked at them. Any suggestions?

    • I usually make a 2-page scrapbook page with all the pictures that I’ve received that year. I’ll cut the pictures down so they all fit.

      It can be tough to throw them away, but understandable. If you’re not doing anything with them, they just create clutter. I don’t expect people to keep the picture I send out of my boys :-).

  4. Thank you for the reply, Corrie. I like your suggestion since it’s still really hard for me to throw photos away…..but I don’t like clutter either! I don’t scrapbook, but I’m sure I could manage to put together a couple of pages of an album. My kids are teenagers now so I don’t exchange photos with friends as much. As I’m busy running kids everywhere and running a business, I’m trying to simplify my life as much as possible, hence the ecards .

  5. I’m a big Excel person, so I know how helpful it can be in keeping track of and simplifying things. I never thought to use it to track my Christmas card database though. Great idea!

    Thanks.
    .-= Darvin @ Recycling Christmas Card´s last blog ..Christmas Card Crafts =-.

  6. Thank you so much for this! I like that it was step by step and so simple. By the way, I choose to handwrite a sentiment inside the card to make it personal. Merry Christmas!

  7. Being able to print out labels is WONDERFUL! With my arthritis, addressing each and every envelope by hand is excruciating, and often illegible! Thank you so much!

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