By Allison Freeland
'Tis the season to spreading the cheer of the holiday season through greeting cards. Holiday cards are a great way to connect with long-lost business connections or even prospective employers. But, sending holiday cards to hundreds of professional contacts with major misspellings or embarrassing grammatical mistakes can make your heart race and waver your credibility. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be like that. Avoid a heart attack and prevent mistakes with the following holiday card error-proof and etiquette tips:
Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation
New Years Day? Season's Greetings? New Year's Day... Season's Greetings.. You don't want to threaten the credibility of your personal brand or company because of a careless grammatical error or spelling mistake. Sending holiday cards is a great way to send holiday cheer, while keeping your talents and/or business top of mind. So quickly, that New Years Day and season's greetings may go unnoticed. Yes, New Year's Day and Season's Greetings are correct. For grammar technicalities, January first is the beginning of the new year, which makes the holiday possessive. Just like New Year's Day, Season's Greetings are greetings of the season, and the season owns the greetings.
The Internet marketing blog, Adcuda.com also explains that you should omit apostrophes when addressing cards to a family of more than one. For example, "the Browns," "the Armstrongs," and "the Millers" are correct. As a safe bet, simply write "the Miller family." Keep in mind that for holiday invitations, ask that attendants RSVP, which stands for répondez s’il vous plaît, sans "please" before or after the RSVP. As a last resort, ask for several pairs of eyes to read the holiday card's message before sending to avoid any unnoticed typos or overlooked punctuation mistakes.
Not only does the workplace have diverse personalities and varying personal interests, it's also a cluster of individuals who have different religious beliefs — or none at all. Whether you're sending traditional Hallmark greeting cards bought in bulk or customizing cards from the online design store Minted.com, for example, select from a collection of cards that are secular.
Non-religiously affiliated holiday themes include the following examples:
- Happy Holidays
- Season's Greetings
- Sending warm wishes this joyful season
- Cheers to you and yours
- Joyful wishes
- Happy New Year
Attention should be given to signature etiquette just as much as a card's content. Professional signatures, such as "warmest regards," "from all of us at," or "from your friends at," are warm and appropriate sentiments that any employee, client or customer would be happy to read.
Lackluster Email Holiday "Cards"
Although mass holiday e-cards may be inexpensive and easy to send, it's in poor taste. Especially during the holidays, your contacts want to feel valued, and putting in the extra effort to send thoughtful greetings expresses your appreciation. Even more heart warming, is sending holiday cards handwritten with a meaningful message. Cards with a beautiful image and handwritten, conveys that you value your business relationship with them.
Overcompensation for Political Correctness
If you're making it a point to recognize various cultural holidays and diverse celebrations, keep in mind there's a fine line between practicing cultural awareness and drawing too much attention to diversity that it teeters on offensive or comical. Sending seasonal cards with blatant, overt or excessive culturally diverse material can actually border on ridiculing any traditions, holidays and religions. For a fine balance, send seasonal cards with cheery themes, such as winter and snow, family and joy, the new year, merriment and celebration.
Pranks & Inappropriate Jokes
If you're a person that encourages a fun workplace and casual atmosphere, you may feel inclined to pull a lighthearted prank or send a humorous holiday card. Pranks, such as faux holiday bonuses, aren't funny, and inappropriate jokes that border on sexual harassment only make people feel uncomfortable— even if everyone's laughing. Maintain professionalism during all times of year, including the holiday season. Send thoughtful and classic cards with a meaningful message. The holiday season is exciting and fun, yet refrain from prankster and tasteless ideas.
More than just a gesture to spread seasonal cheer, holiday greeting cards strengthen important business relationships, attract new clients and generate leads. For a small business, add a personal touch and focused message in cards to reinforce already established client connection. Include a small promotional item, such as a special discount or gift card, for individual recipients. Individuals and business can also utilize holiday cards as service branding opportunities. Cards designed with your logo or name are likely to be displayed on an office desk or wall, which is a great promotion for you or your company. If you're a self-employed freelancer, seasonal cards are a proactive gesture that can market services, open doors to new opportunities and thank clients for their business and loyalty. Sending cards can also serve as a way to send traditional business cards that are just masked with a little holiday cheer.
Sending festive cards should be a fun and kind gesture — not rocket science; however, to ensure that your cards are successfully sent, keep in mind these final suggestions:
- Keep the database updated: From employees to high-profile clients, you want to make sure no one is omitted from your list.
- Customize and order cards early: In case of a poor design, you'll have time to resubmit an order. Sending holiday cards in a timely manner also shows recipients that your business is prompt and a loyal company.
- Fine-tune the holiday message: You want to send warm holiday wishes while also expressing professional appreciation and gratitude.
Above all, send holiday cards thoughtfully and meaningfully, and your gesture will be recognized and appreciated.
About the Author: This article was written by Allison Freeland, freelance journalist and contributor for Minted and various other business and technology outlets. Allison has been in communications for nearly a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota.