Holiday Card Addressing Etiquette

When it comes to sending out Holiday cards, the last step to sending the perfect greeting is addressing your cards with the proper etiquette.

Miss or Ms. or Mrs.? Miss is an unmarried woman or young girl under the age of 18. Mrs. is a married woman. Ms. can be used for any woman, no matter her marital status. If you’re unsure of the recipient’s marital status, use the titles “Ms. Jane Smith” or “Mr. John Smith”. In business, Ms. is usually the most appropriate. 

For married women keeping their maiden name, use her first name and maiden name and her spouse’s first and last name. Use Ms. in this case. For women who are engaged and those living with a spouse, use Ms. with the woman’s maiden name until married.

Use titles for associates and acquaintances. If you are sending Holiday cards to a person that you’re not close with, use formal titles when addressing their envelope, such as “Mr. John Doe” or “Ms. Jane Doe”.

Titles for a married couple: Address a married couple traditionally as “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe” or try “Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe” for a modern twist.

Titles for an unmarried couple that live together: Address an unmarried couple that lives together by joining their names with “and”, such as “Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Doe”.

Titles for a family: Use the family’s last name to address your card if the card is intended for the entire family, i.e. write “The Smith Family”.  (See below for tips to pluralize last names.)

Use professional titles. Always use professional titles when addressing your card to doctors, members of the clergy, or elected officials.

Use informal titles for close friends and loved ones. If you’re sending a card to a person that you’re very close with, you can skip the title and use “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” when addressing your card.

Use a company’s office address when sending business Holiday cards. If you’re sending cards to a company or a colleague, always send the card to their primary office address.

Don’t use abbreviations. Avoid using abbreviations for street names. For instance, spell out “Ter.” as “Terrace” or “St.” as “Street”.  Addresses should be printed in all capital letters, according to the US Postal Service. This is to ensure your cards arrive at the correct addresses.

Pluralizing Last Names:

You don’t need apostrophes. Incorrect: “The Howard’s wish you a Happy Holiday.”

Most last names simply need an -s. The SMITHS and The WILSONS and The BUCKNERS

Last names ending in -s, add an -es. The JONESES and The WILLIAMSES

Names ending in -x, -z, -ch or -sh get -es too. The MADDOXES and The MARTINEZES and The FLETCHES

OR add “Family” after the last name. The JONES Family and The SMITH Family

You do need an apostrophe for a possessive with an S. The Smith family is hosting a party should be The SMITHS’ Holiday Party

Happy Holidays from 305 Hive!