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Christmas (er, Holiday) Cards

August 27th, 2008

I’m worse at sending holiday cards than I am at sending thank you cards!  But this year is going to be different.  I’m going to do it this year.  Here’s my plan of attack:

  1. Export all my contacts who I have an address for from JibberJobber, and determine if they are holiday card recipients or not (I should have been tagging my contacts, but I haven’t been diligent in that).
  2. Do a mail merge from the file I get out into a word document, IF I’m going to print labels (not sure if I’m doing that or handwriting the addresses).
  3. Find holiday cards to send out.  Most will be Christmas cards, but some will be holiday cards.
  4. Prepare them and get them all ready to go for a Dec 1 mailing.

I’m trying to figure out how to make this more meaningful and personal than the typical card… I’ve been at companies where they just tape them up on a wall and then throw them away… some cards simply have a name and a generic message… what could I do to make it more personal?

So I’m a newbie at this stuff… any suggestions?  What am I missing?  HOW DO YOU DO IT?

 

This post is brought to you by Walter Akana, founder of Threshold Consulting.  Walter Akana is a Life Strategist who specializes in success! With expertise in career transitions, personal branding, and life planning, he works primarily with mid-career individuals who want to achieve more self direction in their careers and lives.   Walter’s services include coaching clients on developing career/life plans, uncovering their personal brands, and establishing online visibility. Visit Walter’s site to learn more about his services and to read his blog.  Walter is a JibberJobber Career Expert Partner.

 

 

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15 Responses to “Christmas (er, Holiday) Cards”

  1. Marc Wolfsfeld says:

    Jason,

    My suggestion is to bag the card idea. As you said, most people hang them on the wall and then throw them out. What a waste of time, money and effort.

    The thank you card idea is much better. If you wrote 5 or so a week, I bet you would get some amazing results.

    Take the money you would spend on cards and postage and donate it to a non profit that would benefit from the money. Send a holiday email letting people know that you are doing that instead of sending cards and that they can print out and post your email with all the other cards.

    Marc

  2. I think holiday cards are a nice gesture, but I like the idea of birthday cards, or even 4th of July cards (!) It is nice to touch base with people at a time when not everyone else is trying to spread good cheer. If birthday cards would be too much to manage (an all-year long project), choosing another designated time of the year to reach out can accomplish the same goal.

  3. Sundi says:

    Regardless of if you do christmas, thank you, birthday, etc I do vote for hand addressing and encourage you to delegate this to someone. (Purchase a bulk box of envelopes and cards. Pull out the cards and give the person you delegate to a list and the envelopes. Have them addressed all at once and store them somewhere you can easily access them. During the time you set asside to address cards pull out a stack of envelopes and had write the personal note.)

    I vote against the card services. I received one before and it was clearly computer generated with my “account” number printed on the back of my card. The note inside was personalized but the whole packaging made it not very “personal.”

    Another day/date you could consider is your company anniversary date!

  4. danielle says:

    all should be holiday cards, not specific christmas cards. its better to be safe than sorry..or go with new years cards.

    and trust me..they are very much appreciated. i ttake notes on who i receive them from

  5. Pamela Loy says:

    Whenever I send out Xmas cards or any other time, I add a personal note to the recipient. Most of my cards go to either past clients or future clients. The future clients are the ones I have built some kind of relationship with, not just Mr. Joe next door. If you have a huge database, maybe you should invest in someone to help you with the process, like children.

  6. Steve says:

    My suggesting is to get custom printed holiday cards. Customize the message and even offer a special gift/offer on your site (that you call out on the card).

    You can order custom printed holiday cards from VistaPrint – http://www.vistaprint.com/vp/holiday07/holiday_cards.aspx

  7. Sara Hurd says:

    Jason,

    I think you probably already know what I do for my holiday cards. I used to not send them, or would send them late (like a New Year’s card). When I started using SendOutCards, it was a quick import of my contact list, then I created three different cards (Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and the family Christmas newsletter) and did a one-click send to my different holiday list groups. I like to include a holiday poem, include photos of the year, etc. Then, for some of my recipients, I’d go in and edit their individual card to include an additional note just for them. Because it’s SendOutCards, I can do it in my own handwriting with my signature and they print it and send it for me. EASY and QUICK.

    There’s no reason to send thank you, birthday cards, or other holiday cards INSTEAD when you can easily and inexpensively do both. A Thanksgiving card or New Year’s card might make it through the card clutter, but so does a humorous, meaningful, or personally designed holiday card.

    I agree that the holiday cards probably will get thrown out at the end of the season. But that’s not really a reason not to send one. The unexpected, heartfelt individual card will most likely be kept, especially one that has the recipient’s own picture on it. Honestly, SendOutCards can help you do both. Less than 30 seconds to a custom greeting card in your own handwriting with your signature – printed professionally and sent in the mail for you with a first-class stamp. If sending your holiday cards overwhelms you, I suggest you consider it! I used to dread it, feel overwhelmed, procrastinate it, sometimes until it was too late and I just thought, “next year.” Not any more.

    You asked! Thanks for listening. :)

    -Sara

  8. Nancy B says:

    Enlist the help of your children… don’t purchase the cards… make it a family event… or even make them yourself :-)

    Heather Gardner recently sent out cards to her contacts who she could locate a business address for and I was lucky enough to have one appear at my door the day before the blog post :-) ! (http://tinyurl.com/6zldxc)

    The picture postcard image at the bottom of the post was part of the cover of the handmade card. It was a wonderful personal way to keep in touch and make that tacticle connection that only paper and ink can convey.

  9. Anemone says:

    My husband and I have been sending holiday cards every year for about 13 years. Every year, we used to grumble that we’d send 50 to get five back. We’d lovingly pick a pretty motif, write them all by hand, and then wait for a trickle of responses to come in. We gradually started cutting our list down, thinking we didn’t have as many friends as we thought.

    Then a few years ago we started making our own cards. We pick a photo taken during the year of something vaguely thematic (an angel statue, a polar bear at the zoo, snowy mountains, etc.), add a humourous caption, print as many as we need and paste them onto blank cards purchased at a craft store during the previous post-Holiday sale. We still write them by hand.

    We immediately started seeing a booming response. Most people keep have kept all our home-made cards since the first; people we considered as mere acquaintances awkwardly ask if we “still have some of those cards” and hint that they hope to receive one, etc. We get lots of cards in return to hang on our own chimney. It’s been very rewarding!

  10. Sara Hurd says:

    For a business, you could do a “year in review” that includes world news (focusing on positive and quirky and interesting, not necessarily the stuff often focused on in the mainstream news). Or, perhaps, some wacky predictions for the coming year. Even a combination of both. Humor is good. Avoid business or self-promotion in a greeting card – that’s not the purpose.

  11. Paula says:

    You may want to use more than one group of people– say, key contacts may need to get a hand-addressed card.

  12. Think about it how good you feel when someone in your network takes the time to do something ‘special’ for you? Doesn’t it feel nice? How you want ‘your’ contacts to feel? Good , Nice, Special, or all of the above?

    I’m a BIG fan of “personal” touch. Really, I like to send cards ALL throughout the year and hand write a little note to the recipient – “Old School” I know. I much prefer this than sending mass Christmas cards just during the Holiday Season when folks are getting a zillion at a time.

    Would you believe that I host a large trunk show once a year – the local mailing list is 400+ and an official invitation goes out to each person on that list – no evite, no mass printed post card, a formal handcrafted invite goes out – and every year the turn out is AMAZING!

  13. Chris says:

    I use a company called http://www.TheCardandGiftCompany.co.uk They have a great website where you can choose from thousands of birthday and greeting cards. They then handwrite your message for you AND send it out in a handwritten envelope. The great thing is that they have an address book system to keep all your contacts name and addresses. It even has a key date reminder service, so they email you when a birthday or anniversary of a contract is coming up.

    I used to handwrite all my own cards, but those days are now long gone. The best bit is that my customers think that I am still taking the time to handwrite their cards to them!

  14. Voos Baratos says:

    That is a very productive way of sending out the Christmas cards! You were very ahead of time and that’s great. This year I am going to send out the Christmas cards a bit earlier than normal so they all arrive on time!

    Using this technology of the mail merge really saves a lot of time! I will try out, thank you for the tip!

  15. I would agree with nancy, if you make the cards together as a family, then it will show in the card and then you wont have people just throwing them away once the holiday seasons are over with. You’ll have made something that doesnt look generic and people will love it!

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