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6th December 2022

How to address Christmas cards and gifts

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‘Tis the season for reconnecting with loved ones – and what better way to do that than by sending a handwritten Christmas card or a personal gift?

The rise of text and email communication means the tradition of sending and receiving Christmas cards by post has mostly fallen out of fashion. But a proper Christmas card is a special way to tell your friends and family that you’re thinking of them – and a great opportunity to update your address book.

At, we can help make sure you’ve got the right and most up-to-date address. Use our Postcode Finder and People Finder to check you have all the correct addresses for everyone on your list, then learn how to address Christmas cards correctly in our handy guide to Christmas card etiquette.

Addressing Christmas card envelopes

The first step in addressing a Christmas card envelope correctly is making sure you have the right address. Be like Santa – make a list and check it twice. Once to check the addresses are up to date, and secondly, to make sure the street, house number and postcode are all correct.

Whether you store your contacts on your phone or in an old-fashioned Christmas address book, you should update your sending list at least once a year. Using the right postcode speeds up delivery, so use to verify postcodes and address spellings. You don’t want to waste time and money posting a Christmas card to the wrong house.

Once you’re sure the address is right, make sure you’re addressing the envelope correctly:

  • Use a pen not a pencil
  • Write the address clearly using your best handwriting – block capitals are a good choice to make it clear as possible. Watch for 7s and 1s getting confused in the postcodes.
  • If you’re worried about eligibility, you can use pre-printed address labels.
  • For addresses, follow this format:
    • Name at the top
    • House name, if applicable
    • Street address
    • Region of the city
    • City
    • Country, if sending abroad
    • Postcode
  • The postage stamp goes in the top right corner of the envelope – making sure not to cover any address details.
  • If you’re including a return address on your Christmas card, this traditionally goes on the back of the envelope in the UK – over the envelope flap.

How to make sure the address is right for Christmas gifts

The wrong address – whether written by hand or input online - could delay your gift parcel until after Christmas – or see it misplaced entirely. It’s crucial you double-check every letter and number before you send it.

Forgot to write down your old school friend’s new address? Use the People Finder tool to search for it. We use the electoral roll, Companies House and the phone book to find up-to-date addresses for people in the UK.

If you have a street address, but don’t know the postcode, our Postcode Finder can help ensure a speedy and accurate delivery of your Christmas gift.

Christmas card etiquette: How to address a Christmas card to different people

The best way to address someone on a Christmas card will depend on who you’re sending it to, and the nature of your relationship.

For more formal contacts – someone who you work with, for example - include their honorific (Ms, Mr, Mx, Dr, etc), followed by their first and last names. 

You can drop the honorific if you have a more casual relationship, but you should always include a last name to avoid potential delivery delays.

  • Addressing Christmas cards for family – If you’re addressing a Christmas card to a family, use the family’s last name: “The Smiths” or “The Smith Family”. If the family have different surnames, you should include both last names: “The Doe/Smith Family”.

  • Addressing Christmas Cards to a married couple – The traditional format of addressing a Christmas card to a married couple is “Mr and Mrs John Smith”. Nowadays, the inclusion of the lady’s first name is also expected: “Mr John and Mrs Jane Smith”. If the couple have different last names, join both their first and last names with ‘and’: “Ms Jane Doe and Mr John Smith”.

  • Addressing Christmas cards to your neighbours – If you know their surnames, you could address them as a family. If you have a more casual relationship, it’s fine to refer to them by their first names – especially if you plan on hand-delivering the card. Sending a Christmas card to those neighbours you spoke to once and now can’t remember their name? Write their street address on the envelope and omit a greeting inside. Skip straight to the Christmas wishes and hope they send a card back with their names in it – so you know for next year.

  • Addressing Christmas cards to colleagues and business contacts – There’s a different Christmas card etiquette for business colleagues than for friends. This is the time to be formal. Make sure you include all honorifics along with the person’s full name. Finally, address your business contact’s Christmas card to their office – not their home.
To help you plan your Christmas card sending and gift giving, visit our Christmas page.


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