Using my PDA for my Christmas card mailing list

When I mentioned, over at OrganizedChristmas that I use my PDA for my Christmas card mailing list, someone asked for the exact process. So, I'd thought I would go ahead and post it here.

I should note that I do this for all mailing lists, not just Christmas cards. It takes a bit of time, but it's easier than keeping two separate lists updated, in my opinion. And, I got this idea originally from pdaaddict over at OrganizedHome.

To start, I modified one of the Custom fields in my Contacts list to be called "Mailing." In there, I make notations for anyone who is part of a mailing list. For Christmas cards, the notation looks like this: CC-04 or CC-04X. 04 represents the year, so this year's notations will be CC-05. I use the X at the end if I received a Christmas card from that person.

Here are the basic steps I go through:
  1. Review last year's card list.
  2. Create this year's list.
  3. Export this year's list into Microsoft Word for labels.
Review last year's list

If your contacts list is small enough, you could just go through the list on your Palm. Mine contains nearly 500 entries though, the vast majority of which do not receive cards. So, I go through the following process to export my list into something I can read a bit more easily.
  1. First, I export all my records using the Palm Desktop. I only export the following fields: First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, Zip, Country, and Mailing. I export them as a Comma Separated file (csv).
  2. Next, I import this CSV file into Excel.
  3. I use Excel to filter the results based on the Mailing field. This year, I'll filter using CC-04, followed by a wildcard.
  4. Then, I copy and paste these filtered records into a new worksheet, effectively getting rid of all the other records.
Create this year's list

Using last year's list as a reference, I add this year's notation (CC-05) to the Mailing field of all contacts I want on this year's list. Then, I go through the same export process:
  1. Export the Palm Desktop records into a CSV file.
  2. Import the CSV file into Excel.
  3. Filter the Excel file, using CC-05, followed by a wildcard.
  4. Copy and paste the filtered records into a new worksheet.
Then I clean up the data a little bit, including changing the formatting on Zip column to the Zip Code format.

Export this year's list into Microsoft Word for labels

Once I have the Excel file, I step through Microsoft Word's Mail Merge wizard to create labels, using the Excel file as my data source.

And that's it!


  1. Hi Kristy --
    Cheryl - TheMelodiousElf here!

    I keep asking myself "WHY do you think you need a PDA?" -- you've given me the impetus at least shop around! EXACTLY what kind do you have? If you'd PM me at OC I'd appreciate it.;=D

  2. I can’t believe that Christmas is right around the corner. This is a time of year that I like to try show my appreciation to others. I think in general, we keep so busy that we seem to let too much time go buy without letting people know that we care about them. Christmas seems to be a time we try to touch base with Christmas cards or gifts. I have been stopping by your blog from time to time and have enjoyed reading your posts, so I just wanted to say hi, and to wish you the best for the holidays.

  3. i was trying to do this with Outlook. but i am not sure on some of your directions. like: what is a wildcard?
    put an X at the end of ?
    could you please be more specific
    thank you

  4. Terri -

    I hope you're planning to check back in here, because I'm not sure how else to contact you with answers to your questions.

    I've never tried to do this with Outlook, but assuming that you can export your Contacts list into a CSV file, everything should work the same as the directions I gave.

    A wildcard is basically a character that will match anything. In Excel, it's an asterisk (*). So, for this year's cards, you would match this:


    Here's why the wildcard is needed. Some of the people I send cards to send cards to me, as well. The notation for those people in my address book is "CC-05X". For those who haven't sent a card, it's "CC-05", without the X. So, when I set up the filter in Excel, I want to see every contact that has either "CC-05" or "CC-05X". Without the wildcard, Excel would only match contacts that contained "CC-05", unless I specified that the filter should "contain" the value, not be that value exactly.

    Is this as clear as mud?

    Contact me again if I can help provide more information, and leave an email address where I can contact you directly, and I'll be happy to help.

  5. I just found your blog, it was a really great read! Incase it is of any interest, a while back i managed to find a british labels company who sold me a batch of plain labels for a really low price. If you are all interested then it may be worth visiting their website.


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