Sometime after Thanksgiving every year, Mom would begin addressing the cards to be sent from our family. I'm not sure when they were actually mailed. They were always signed and adressed by hand. This was before the era of the "Christmas Letter".
During the Christmas Season we often got 2 mail deliveries a day! As children we would eagerly race to collect the mail and bring it in to be sorted. We knew that if it was addressed to our parents, they would open it. If the envelope had the additional words "and Family" it was ok for the kids to open.
After being duly opened and admired, the cards were put into a special tray to be admired over and over. I don't remember seeing that tray at any other time of year. It was a burgundy fan shaped tray with a gold fruit motif across the top. I think it was made of aluminium. After the holidays the cards were used for art and craft projects.
After I married, my husband and I continued the card tradition and displayed our cards on ribbon attached to a wall or door. I think we did do a Christmas letter after we moved to Florida so we could let family and friends know what was happening in our lives and the lives of our children.