- Plan to send the cards out the first week of December, to ensure that they're delivered before all of the holidays. If you can't mail them until later, choose "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy New Year" cards.
- Classic greeting cards are always chic. Crane & Co. is my "classic" go-to. Other great classic lines are Smythson, Mrs. John L Strong, Tiffany and Cartier. For a "funny card" option, I recommend Smart Alex. These original and eccentric cards always put a smile on my face! And Meri Meri and Robin Maguire are my "cute card" go-tos. Some of their cards even include a pop-up 3D cutout!
- When it comes to boxed sets, I recommend the Paper Source -- it has simple and clean cards at a great price.
- If you're ordering all of your gifts online, note that most companies have cards attached to their gifts. Harry & David allows you to create a custom card with whatever you give.
- If you have time, make your own cards. Last year, I designed my own card with a photo taken by an amazing photographer, Myriam Santos, and ordered Crane & Co. cards from the Alpine Creative Group.
- You could also have a graphic designer design your card. Hiring a professional calligrapher for envelope addressing is also always a nice touch.
- You can also make your own cards at home, from scratch: Have your picture printed on card stock or photo paper at Costco or Rite Aid. Photocopy your printed message and paste it to the back of your photograph. The Paper Source is a great place to find all styles and types of envelopes. For a cute detail, order personalized stamps from zazzle.com. You can use these on any envelope.
- Put your cards to work: Use them to increase awareness about a charity that is important to you, and to help your charity raise money. Make a small donation in the name of each person you send a card to; on their card, say that a donation has been made in their name, and give a short description of the chosen charity. Three I like: the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Love Heals.
- Always send out hard copies of your card. In addition, you can also e-mail digital copies, but if you do so, make sure you send them "BCC."
- Keep the holidays cards you received this year that you liked, and use them for inspiration next year. And don't forget to keep a list of who sent you cards and who you sent cards to, for next year's list!
Luxury, fashion and lifestyle expert Lara Shriftman cofounded Harrison & Shriftman in 1995. The agency specializes in public relations, marketing and events for high-profile luxury brands. In addition to serving as a correspondent for "Extra" with her own segment, Party Confidential, Lara and partner Elizabeth Harrison have authored four books on entertaining: "Fete Accompli," "Fete Accompli Workbook," "Party Confidential" and "Party Confidential: New Etiquette for Fabulous Entertaining." For more info, go to www.partyconfidential.com, Hs-pr.com or Luluflynn.com.