Its that time of year when in all the demands of business, we try to take the time to reach out to others and let them know they are appreciated. Whether in our personal life or professional, we can all use some help or reminders of the etiquette surrounding sending Holiday greeting cards. The following are some pointers to help you make through this important task stress free. Ok...maybe a little less stress anyway. This information is compiled by Merrily Bjerkestrand, and includes three parts: Personal cards, Business Cards, and Business Gift giving for the Holidays. I hope you find it helpful.
HOLIDAY GREETING CARD ETIQUETTE
Part I: Personal Cards
There is no limit to those to whom you may send a holiday card, with exceptions. Sending a Christmas card to someone Jewish isn’t cute- its inconsiderate. Just as sending a Hanukkah card to a Christian is inappropriate. The sending of holiday cards is not the time to argue one’s faith just because both holidays happen to occur at the same time of year. This is a time to wish someone the joy of the season where peace and good wishes are shared by many countries and cultures around the world.
Who Receives a Card
Sending a holiday card to everyone you know or have an address for is an expensive option and is unnecessary. Some guidelines are:
- Send to those you sincerely wish to greet.
- Those who you received a card from the previous year.
- Those you don’t exchange gifts with.
- Someone you haven’t seen for quite awhile.
- Those who do not live close to you.
Selecting the card
- Send Christian friends cards that have a religious scene or sentiment, such as a Nativity, Angels, or religious works of art. The inside message is religious in nature, such as “Joyful blessings” or “Have a blessed Christmas”.
- Festive cards. Some cards are intended to celebrate the fun and festive nature of the season. These include those with wreaths, snowmen, candy canes, lights, Christmas trees, etc. These are intended to bring a laugh or a smile. Some draw a thin line between good humor and poor taste. Choose wisely.
- Jewish, Arab, Moslem, Hindu, or Buddhist friends should receive cards that offer non-religious sentiments, such as “Season’s Greetings”, “Happy New Year”, or “Happy Holidays”.
- Of special note: Those who are mourning. Unfortunately, a lot of deaths seem to occur around the holidays, or the absence of a loved one is more pronounced during the holiday season, which requires additional sensitivity and compassion. Don’t send a festive or joyful card to someone mourning or grieving. Let the sentiment be simple and add your handwritten wish for peace, comfort, and reassurance of friendship and support. Also, someone in mourning may not feel like sending out holiday cards, which is certainly understandable.
- If you are one who includes a family newsletter in your card, be selective. As wonderful as you think your family news is, not everyone is so inclined to read four pages. Only include your newsletter to family members or close friends you know are receptive to the details. The newsletter should hit the highlights, like, births, promotions, moves, graduations, milestones, etc. Also include lowlights, such as, deaths, job loses, divorces, etc. These need only be in brief mention not in minute detail. Not that many people are interested in grandchildren’s grades on the last three report cards. Brief is better but make sure to add current phone numbers for those who want more discussion.
- Enclosing a photo or two of family, new house, new spouse, or children or pet is usually a welcome and appreciated addition.
Signing the Card
- All cards should have a brief additional greeting and a signature of the sender handwritten at the bottom of the card.
- Cards sent by a couple. The one signing the card writes his/her name last as a courtesy. Some believe the woman’s name is always first. Last names are not necessary for close friends. If first names are common, Bill and Jane, the last name may be included in parenthesis.
- When children’s names are included, father’s name, if still part of the household, comes first…always. Ex. The Jacksons—Chris, Janice and Jude.
- If adding children’s names gets too difficult because of blended families, just list first names of household or simply close with Bill, Jane and children, Tiffany, Megan, and Dakota.
- Preprinted cards with preprinted signature only. Greeting cards require a handwritten signature to become personal. If all information is preprinted, including the senders name, the card is considered impersonal and counter productive to the intent and sentiment of the holiday season. If you feel obligated or burdened to send a card, you may want to skip it this year. The card will reflect your mood as will the receiver.
- Engraved cards are occasionally used. These are of fine white or ecru card stock and framed by a red, green, or gold border. Most have a simple symbol of the holiday season, a wreath, Christmas tree, Star of David, centered on the front. The family name is engraved on the inside bottom of the card. These still require a personal handwritten signature and sentiment. These are expensive, formal, impressive, and continue to be considered sincere.
Sending the Card
- Its fun to buy postage stamps that reflect the season. These cost the same as regular postage stamps but are usually more colorful and festive.
- Addresses of the recipient should all be handwritten. Return address may be preprinted or stamped.
- Holiday cards should be mailed between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Some have been known to trickle in until New Years. Valentine’s Day, however, would be a memorable stretch.)
Now that this large task is done, celebrate. Celebrate that in this hectic time of year, you still took the time to think about and remember those that mean so much to you. Celebrate the fond memories brought back to mind as you addressed each envelop and remembered friends and times from the past. Yes this may be one more thing you can check off your list, but it is also a gift you have given yourself as well as the receiver.