I can’t believe it’s only September and we’re already talking about holiday cards, but since more than a handful of colleagues and clients recently asked me if they should send a holiday card, I thought I’d blog about it.
Beginning around Thanksgiving time through the end of the year, many of us receive numerous holiday cards from business associates wishing us a happy holiday season or a great New Year. Make no mistake – generic or not – we all enjoy getting these in the mail as we are reminded that someone is thinking of us. Getting around to sending a holiday card yourself is undoubtedly an overwhelming feeling. You need to get your list together, make sure you have the correct contact information, determine a budget and pick out a card that covers your bases (Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.).
Some questions you also need to answer include: Should I even send out a holiday card if everyone else is? When should I send it? What kind of card should I send? Does it need to be handwritten? Should I include a picture of my team?
Our recommendation for the first question is yes, you should send a holiday card. Below are some tips to consider once you’ve made this choice.
- When should I send it? There is no hard and fast rule for when you should send a holiday card. Many decide to send it around Thanksgiving in order to avoid the “end of year” clutter of mail or because many are traveling around the New Year. You could even decide to skip the holiday card entirely and send a “Happy January” card instead. Or maybe your firm really enjoys sending a Halloween card in lieu of one during the traditional holiday season. The bottom line is when you send a card doesn’t really matter, as long as you send one. You get to decide.
- What kind of card should I send? One important thing to keep in mind is that not everyone celebrates the same holiday, so consider sending something more generic, such as “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” versus “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”.
- Does it need to be handwritten? Whenever possible, you should handwrite something on your card. It could be as simple as “Best Wishes, From Joe”. This gives your card that extra personal touch and shows you spent a few minutes to make someone feel more special. Everyone groans at this because it’s time consuming, but in actuality, it’s really not that bad. Maybe while you are watching the new episode of “Orange is the New Black” you can knock out 20 cards. Carve some room in your calendar for handwritten notes.
- Should I send an e-card? Many people have decided to send an e-card instead of a hard copy card in order to save money and trees. Although I think there is a place for e-cards/e-newsletters, I recommend sticking with the hard copy card. If you are really for planting trees instead of sending a card, fine. But if you are just saying “I want to save paper”, then just start recycling more (we all know we can get better at this).
The last piece of advice is start now. Although it’s only September, the remaining part of 2014 will fly by. Start gathering materials in advance, review your list and determine your timing. This way you are not scrambling at the last minute and can actually enjoy your holiday season.