Here's your chance to end last-minute dashes to the card store by setting up a system that reminds you who to send cards to and when. It will also enable you to buy and organize a year's worth of cards ahead of time.
• Create monthly lists of birthdays, anniversaries and any other special occasions for all family members and friends (include name and date of event).
Create a system
• Buy either an accordion file or a large binder.
• Mark sections for each month; add a section behind the monthly divisions for extra cards, such as birthday, congratulations, get well, sympathy, thank you, and all-occasion blank cards for a new friend, or that perfect card you happen to find two weeks after you've already sent out another one.
• File each monthly list in its appropriate section in the accordion system, or three-hole-punch the lists and place them in the appropriate sections in the binder.
• Purchase all of your gift cards ahead of time. File them in the appropriate month. For the binder, use top-loading plastic sheet protectors to store cards. Look for heavy-duty ones designed for multiple documents, which will hold more cards and last longer than those designed for regular use. (All supplies are available at office supply stores.)
• At the end of each month, check next month's list to ensure that you have cards for everyone. Send all the cards for that month at the same time. For example, send cards for February toward the end of January. If a person's birthday doesn't fall until the end of February, send a card toward the end of January anyway; better the person receives it a few weeks early than not at all.