July 4, 2011

make it monday: a year of birthdays

Happy birthday, America! Celebrating the birthday of my country got me thinking...

I have always wanted to be THAT person. There's one in every family. You know the one, usually an aunt or a grandma. That person that always remembers to send a card on everyone's birthday. Every year. My maternal grandma is that person in my family. Every year. Every birthday. And she always knows how old we are too.

And how cool is it to get real, live mail? With a stamp. And delivered by a mailman/woman. Email and facebook have a time and a place, but the art of sending cards still has a place in this world. I know it does.

If I'm going to be THAT person, I'd better (finally) get organized. And today is that day. 

Step 1:
Gather birthday information. I had to combine my wall calendar with my ical to get them all in one spot. I sent emails, texts, and looked people up on facebook to get birthday info. Leave no stone unturned. This is family, after all. And a few close friends. :) Take all those birthdays and put them in a Word document (or text edit or whatever word processing program suits you). Just a simple list to start out with. Print a copy out. Got them all? Let's move on.

Step 2:
Designate a birthday card box/folder/etc. Something that will hold enough cards for the whole family. That's right, we're going to get all the cards ready BEFORE their birthday is past. What a thought! But we have to have a place to put the cards before we gather them. Otherwise, we'd just have another pile... 

Step 3: (optional)
Decorate said card-holding container. Fabric, paper, buttons, ribbon... whatever you have around to use. This can be done now or later.  

Step 4:
Organize your container. Get some card stock and make tabs to separate each month if what you're using doesn't already have such a system. These don't have to be fancy - or they can be totally fancy. Functionality is the key. Label each month. On the front of each separator, or on a paper in each folder, list each birthday for that month. Remember that babies will be born, people will marry, and new friends will be made - so leave room for more birthdays! That list of birthdays you printed out should go in here as a reference. 

Step 5: 
Gather the cards! You can make them (I prefer making my own), use what you already have (another great option), or go on a birthday card shopping spree! Choose a card for each person in your family. I'm advising to get all the cards together now so they get written and mailed in a timely manner (a week before the birthday is a good time for domestic mail, longer for international mail). If you don't have the supplies/cards/money to do them all at once, start out with a month or 2 (or few) at a time. Once you get them going you can replace cards as you send them. 

Step 6:
Address each envelope. Nothing will get mailed without an address. Don't put stamps on them just yet if there is a chance a person might move. But for those who aren't planning on going anywhere, start stamping! Get them as ready as you can. The point is to make it as easy as possible to mail a card when you might not otherwise send one. 

Step 7:
Send birthday greetings! Now the only thing left is the followthrough. Mark on your calendar to check each month for birthdays. Write out your cards and mail them off! Note how I don't say, "just sign your name" - I say "write." As in, a personal, thought out message. The whole point of being a card artist is to create a lovely birthday message that lets your family know you love them. So tell them! 

Happy birthday to all, and to all... a happy birthday. Especially America, cause it's your birthday today! 

A year of birthdays:
*list of family birthdays
*art supplies (optional)
*cards (homemade or store bought)


Abi said...

This has been something that I've wanted to do for years...hopefully I'll get it up and running with your tips and tricks! Thanks!

Kelli Jean said...

great idea, thanks for the tips

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