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If you’re getting ready to toss out the holiday cards you received this year, think twice.
You could give them a second life as no-cost gift tags next December (instructions), or as no-cost thank-you notes now. Not only is this option free, it’s cheaper to mail because postcard stamps cost 15 cents less than regular stamps. Here’s how to do it…
About three minutes
- Holiday cards you’ve received
- Paper cutter or scissors
- Writing utensil(s)
- Return address labels (optional)
Pick out an appropriate card. If it has a holiday-themed picture on it, that’s OK. The holiday season isn’t over quite yet, and the card is to say thank you for a holiday gift. But if it has a holiday-specific message like “Merry Christmas,” it won’t work as a post-Christmas thank-you note. (Although it will work as a Christmas postcard next year.) Also, if the original card sender wrote on the inside left side of the card, it won’t work as either.
- Cut the card into two pieces along the fold. This works best with a paper cutter, but scissors will work.
- Toss out the back half of the card.
- Turn the front half over to the blank side.
- Stick a return address label in whichever corner you want to be the upper left. Alternatively, write your name and address in the same place. If you plan to write a long thank-you note, position the return address as close to the edge as possible to maximize the writing room.
- Stick a stamp in the upper right corner. Again, position it close to the edge if you want to maximize the writing room.
- Write the recipient’s name and address on the right side. You can position it close to the edge if you need the room, but make sure your writing is legible. To help the postcard reach the recipient quickly, use their 10-digit ZIP code (which you can look up at USPS.com if you don’t know it).
- Use a straightedge to draw a vertical line to separate the recipient’s name and address from the blank area where you will write your message. This isn’t necessary, but it makes it a lot easier to make sure the writing in the two areas doesn’t run together such that the post office won’t be able to read the address.
Now you’re ready to add the thank-you part. If you want to get fancy, you could use something besides a blue or black pen, but make sure that any writing utensil you use on any part of the card won’t bleed if the postcard catches a few raindrops on its way to the recipient.
Karla Bowsher runs our Deals page, writes “Today’s Deals” posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and covers consumer and retail issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.