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What Bugs Me About Holiday Cards

One of my favorite times of the year is during the end-of-the-year holidays, when my mailbox is not completely filled with junk mail. (Well, I still get a fair amount of junk mail, catalogues, etc.) But, I receive holiday cards from my friends and family near and far.

Over the years, especially since I started sending cards myself—including photos of my daughters and me and a one-page newsy family update—my evenings have become even happier as I open dozens of envelopes and then hang the cards and photos in my entrance. It has become a wonderful way to update my circle of family and friends (and a few close business colleagues) about the happenings in my family. I personally address each card. (I do get help with stuffing and stamping the envelopes, but I take great joy in hand-addressing the cards—no pre-printed labels or auto labeling from a company.) For perspective, this year I ordered 600 cards to send out.

When people question my sanity in spending my time hand-addressing that many cards, I always tell them, it gives me a moment to reflect on my relationship with each person, and I actually feel I put “love” all over the envelope when I address it. So, I address 50 or 100 each evening and they eventually get mailed. (Then I wait for the emails and comments from people when they are surprised and delighted.)

But at my office, it’s a whole other story. We stopped sending out company holiday cards many years ago because we knew our clients would get so many other cards that we wouldn’t stand out. And frankly, it seemed to be a waste of paper and postage. I mean, a corporate holiday card would be meaningless to clients. So impersonal. We would much rather call a client or send a short email or text to send a business colleague a holiday wish.

However, there are still people who we do business with who think sending a holiday card is a good use of their resources. It’s a free world, but I kind of think some companies may be on auto-pilot and maybe no one has given much thought to the whole process.

Mostly the reason I say all this is that we receive holiday cards from other companies with preprinted address labels. Preprinted company names on the inside of the card. And pre-printed postage. Every year when I get these cards, I just shake my head. I ask myself—what are they trying to accomplish?

It is so old-school to send preprinted holiday cards like this. Admittedly, we do receive an occasional card with a photo of the sales team from a company. But unfortunately they usually don’t have each person identified, so it’s impossible to know who’s who. What’s the point?

Think about it: the cost of paper, cost of printing, cost of postage, labor cost. Could you put those resources and time to better use somewhere else?

My bet is that most companies relegate this decision to someone who isn’t responsible for the bottom line or who isn’t involved in customer relations. That’s too bad.

It tells me a lot about a company, their decision making and their priorities when I receive a completely preprinted impersonal holiday card. It makes me wonder if I want to do business with them, and how much attention they will pay to my business.

Think about it. If you work at a company that sends out preprinted cards … perhaps you could make a suggestion on a better way to thank clients at the holidays!


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