Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Easiest Way to Update Your Address Book, Ever

A rosemary bush masquerading as our Christmas tree!

As I've mentioned before, I've really gotten into the whole "holiday season" thing this year. This is new for me. In years past, Christmas has always been a sad and uneasy time. When I was 15, my grandmother was in a fatal car accident on Christmas Eve. My family didn't have a lot of money growing up, and while my parents tried their best to give us happy Christmases, the stress of the holidays always took its toll. This year, however, I've had a change of heart. Maybe it's because I love giving and receiving things. Maybe it's the fact that I no longer work in retail and can actually enjoy Christmas music. Maybe it's the cookies. I'm not sure what flipped the switch, but I'm glad to be feeling so jolly!

Last year, Nathan, Seamus and I took a last minute holiday photo and emailed it to all our friends. This year, we took the time to take a real photo and will be sending out actual cards. I didn't have everyone's address in one place and wasn't looking forward to collecting them, organizing them, and figuring out where to keep them. Then I had a brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea. Follow the instructions below and you'll have all your addresses in one handy place in no time!
  1. Go to Google Docs.
  2. Click the drop down menu "Create New" and then choose "Form." 
  3. Title the form something obvious and explain what it is, so people won't think you're selling their information. You can see what I did below. 
  4. You will be creating a minimum of three questions with "Text" answers. You can do this by clicking "Add Item" and then "Text." I listed my questions as "Last Name," "First Name," and "Address." I also added "Phone Number" and "Email Address" just because, but I made those questions optional. 
  5. When your form is complete, click "Save." Then click "Email Form." 
  6. If you have a Gmail account (which you should, because Gmail is amazing) you can use your contacts to insert all the people who's addresses you need. If you do not have a Gmail account (shame on you!) just fetch your contacts and plug 'em in. 
  7. Make sure you've checked "Include form in email," then hit "Send." Voila! 
  8. When folks get your email, the form will be embedded in the message. They fill in their info and hit submit, and Google Documents automatically uploads them to a fancy little spreadsheet.
  9. The end!
You can also embed the form in a blog post or webpage, in case you want to send holiday cards to some of your blog friends. (Hint, hint!)

Happy holidays, and may all your address collecting be easy and stress free!