Avoid blatant endorsements of religion or cultural traditions
One thing Farley, Gottsman and Reichert all agreed on was that it’s best to “assume nothing” when it comes to recipients’ religious or cultural traditions.
“Being very safe and respectful is the key,” said Gottsman, who added that a neutral “Happy Holidays” is preferable to endorsing Christmas, Kwanzaa, or other winter-time holidays.
However, Farley said this rule applies only to the card design itself. Inside, it’s appropriate to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukah,” provided you definitely know your client celebrates that holiday. “It makes your greeting that much more meaningful and warm,” Farley said.
Keep out logos and business cards
Resist the urge to plaster your greeting with your company logo, or stuff the package full of coupons or business cards.
“This is the time for the soft-sell; you’re not pitching, you’re not doing client business,” Farley advised. “The card itself is all the selling you should really be doing.”
While logos do have a place on a corporate card, it should be done in a tasteful way, said Reichert. Placing the logo below your signature or on the back of the card is a nice way to make the card stand out as something personalized by the business, she said.
Send cards and gifts as soon as possible
Now is the time to send out your holiday greetings and gifts, if you haven’t already. Gottsman said it’s safe to start at the end of November, and the earlier the better given many companies close up shop the week of Christmas.
If you’ve missed the deadline, however, Gottsman says you can never go wrong with a New Year card, which should be in the mail before Christmas Day.
The bottom line with all these dos and don’ts, however, is that despite your business, your budget or your byline, your holiday greeting should come from the heart.
“If someone is actually taking the time to write a personal message, that’s going to trump even the worst card design,” Farley said. “Even if the card itself is something you get for 50 per cent off at the local dollar store, the fact that you’ve included a personal message is far more impressive than the most stunning card with nothing inside.”