I think the “Holiday Season” begins right after Labor Day, or at least it does in Walmart when the summer section begins its transformation to the “Winter Decorations” section. Call this time of year what you want, but it’s anything but the Indian summer of my youth, at least in the stores. Consumer dollars are paramount in the last four months of each year, and no matter what the occasion, there are greeting cards sitting on the shelves to please every denomination and cover every “holiday” event. Living in New York, I would say there is no greater melting pot of cultures anywhere in the world.
The business world wants to use this time of year to reach out to its client base to thank them for their business and wish them a “Happy Holiday.” Therein lies the first dilemma: what holiday is “safe” to mention? Some will go with their own beliefs and may send a Christmas card, while others will play it safe and send a generic “Happy Thanksgiving” (everyone eats turkey), “Season’s Greetings,” or “Happy New Year” card.
Marketing communication companies are in a special pickle when it comes to deciding which medium to use to convey their greetings. Email blasts, YouTube clips, or other clever new media can be used to wow the client base, but today I want to talk about one of my favorites: old-fashioned ink on paper. To me there is nothing like the experience of receiving a card at home in the mail and opening it like a Christmas present to see what exciting message lies within.
A recent post by Matthew Parker on the Profitable Print Relationships blog outlines seven of the many dos and don’ts that will help you think through the process. Print companies especially need to put their collective best foot forward. Nothing kills the message like a catalog-bought card or a card that is poorly executed. This is your profession, and this is your time to shine. Spare no expense and make your card pop. Check out the post here:
If you have a smaller holiday card list and still want to send something original, I can suggest a new Apple app that I can personally vouch for as offering value for your dollar. The app is simply called Cards, and it allows you to send beautiful letterpress cards you can personalize using a number of various designs. You can send them from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or your iPad. Each card is just $2.99 when mailed in the US, and that includes postage. The cards are printed on a heavyweight, textured cover stock with matching envelopes. You have the option to add photos to the design, and the cards can be generic or personalized for any occasion. You can also send the same card to multiple parties. Each envelope has a handwritten look to it, and though it may be a gimmick, it’s hot right now. Take a look at the app at Apple’s App Store or follow this link.
If senders would only call on their own greeting card experiences before sending greeting cards, they would avoid many disappointed recipients. I have complied a few of my own dos and don’ts––but then again, this is just me.
• Do sign the card! For the love of Mike, would it kill ya to sign a card?
• Do add a handwritten message to photos with preprinted greetings. I love seeing you and your family grow old, but it would be nice to hear how everyone is doing and exactly how Uncle Willy wound up in the wheelchair. Personalize the card for me.
• Do get the names of my family right, make sure the spouse is the current one, and also check if Ol’ Yeller is still alive before adding the pet’s name.
• Don’t write “Seasons Greetings.” If you know me at all, send me a Christmas card and please stop hoarding free cards from twenty years ago––use the new ones you get for free.
• If you send a card you got for free from a charitable organization, please do send them a small donation or just put the cards in the recycling bin. If I see you in fur during the holiday, your PETA card may come flying back at ya.
• Finally, do make me smile. I know we have all had our own shares of ups and downs, but at least make something warm my heart and bring a smile to my face.
With that said, this is the front of my card for this year:
Author: Tom Caska