We had a large extended family, so Mom was in charge of the Christmas cards. She'd buy a big boxed assortment in the after Christmas clearance sales the year before and would start writing out the cards long before Thansgiving so they would be all ready to mail. Some she would send "as is" with just the traditional signature, but in a select few she would include a handwritten letter. It wasn't a generic Christmas newsletter, it was a personal letter to the recipient. Back in those days, a long distance telephone call was very expensive and a stamp was just a few cents, so Mom was an avid letter writer all year long.
Because of Mom and Dad both coming from large families, we also received a great many cards. It was exciting getting the mail! Mom would hang a string or ribbon across the living room picture window curtain rod and we would use clothes pins to hang and display the cards. After the holidays, the cards would be dismantked and Mom would use them in crafts projects she would come up with to keep us occupied on rainy or sick days.
One family tradition we can count on is the first card of the season always arrives from Mom's brother Cody in Upstate NY. He prides himself on mailing them off the day before Thanksgiving each year, so his cards always arrive on Black Friday or the next day. He wants to be sure that his is the first card of the season we receive. Everyone else in the family holds off mailing until after Thanksgiving so that Uncle Cody can retain his place of honor in the Christmas Card stakes.
These days, my card sending goes in waves. When money isn't so tight, I'll send cards to everyone in my address book. Years like 2010, I will just restrict myself to immediate family and a very few others. Postage rates add up too fast to be casual with my card list in these current economic times. But I still love getting cards!