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Addressing and Signing Greeting Cards

Now that you’ve bought your greeting cards and written your holiday letters, how do you address and sign them? I’ve gotten lots of questions on this topic, and I have answered just about all of them before. Please see this entry: Answers to Mailbag Questions. It gives answers and links to more answers about addressing envelopes, greeting people, and closing your message.

Here are some other questions I’ve been asked about holiday greetings:

1. Which is correct?
Gary, Elizabeth, Carol, Max, and Sam OR
Gary, Elizabeth, Carol, Max and Sam

Answer: Both are correct. The comma before and is optional. To me, it is clearer, and I always use it.

2. What is the correct way to address an envelope to a married couple when the husband and wife are both attorneys?

Answer: Address it the same way you would if they were not attorneys.
3. Is it proper to address a Christmas card to an attorney using Esq. after his name, or should Mr. be used in that personal situation?
Answer: You can address the envelope either way–with Esq. after his name or Mr. before it.
4. To address a letter to Mississauga, Ontario L5R 3M3 CANADA, which parts go on which line?
5. How do you address two people who are both Reverends?
    On the address do this:
Reverend Joseph Black
Reverend Sarah Black
    For the greeting do this:
Dear Reverends Black,   OR
Dear Joseph and Sarah,
    If they have different surnames, do this:
Dear Reverends Black and White,
6. Do you include Jr. or Sr. in the greeting?
For other questions about holiday writing, read Help With Your Holiday Writing here.
Happy holidays!
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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

One comment on “Addressing and Signing Greeting Cards”

  • My brother obtained his BSN from The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing first. Then, he sat for and passed the boards for his RN.
    When writing his name, is it
    S Miller, RN, BSN
    or is it
    S Miller, BSN, RN?
    It appears that many obtain their RN through a 2-year program then go on for their BSN. Thanks!

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