Use Good paperBuy the best paper you can afford. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near a fancy stationer like Kate’s Paperie in Manhattan you can always grab some paper in a pinch from your local Office Max or Office Depot. For something a little more adventurous try the paper supply aisle at Target or Michaels. I’ve even found cool paper for just a few dollars at Big Lots and Wal Mart!

Shop OnlineIf you are one of the few people in the world who plans these events weeks in advance there are some absolutely wonderful online stationery stores. Be warned however, stationery shopping can be addictive. Try not to go overboard!

Print “Best”While you want your certificates to be near perfect it is not always necessary to set your printing preferences to Best Quality – one notch down looks pretty good depending on your printer and ink of course.

Test DriveAlways do a test drive on a few regular sheets of paper before sticking in your fancy expensive sheets. The last thing you want to do is be printing certificates at 2 AM for a class of 20 children and only have enough good paper left for 17 of them!

Spell CheckAnd we don’t mean the function that comes with your word processing package! There is nothing worse (trust me, we know!) than being 7 years old and so excited at getting a certificate only to see that your name has been brutally butchered! Double check, make that triple check, all your names against a printed out list. It is so easy to make mistakes.

Celebrate Sooner - Try to ‘celebrate’ a special moment as soon as possible. In other words, don’t wait till a month has passed before handing out your certificates to your group of Level 2 swimmers!