Holiday greeting cards, do they still matter?
Yes, they do. The US Postal Service estimates that out of the 20+ billion pieces of mail they handle between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, 1.5 billion are attributed to holiday cards!
Let’s face it, the end of the year is overflowing with holidays, feast days, celebrations and parties from a full range of traditions and religions. It’s a public relations extravaganza, a time of reconnecting and networking with family, friends and community. You can’t buy everyone a gift, but you can reach out with a card in the mail. Think of it as a tangible form of social media. Some folks send out festive emails, but there is something special, more personal about a paper card discovered in your mailbox.
Yes, it is another chore to take on. However, if you perceive your greeting as a gift, a gift of time that came from the heart, perhaps you might make space in your schedule to write some cards. Margaret Shepherd in The Art of the Personal Letter offers these helpful suggestions for your “Annual Greeting”…
SLIP- Send cards after the rush. New Year’s, Ground Hog Day, Valentines, etc. Give yourself time to write a message with each card.
SKIMP- Pare down your list to include folks too far away to visit. The older members of your circle. Those who are ill, the people you only hear from once per year, and those you feel closest to.
SKIP- Don’t send out any commercial greetings. A newsy holiday letter alternating with a pretty card every other year works fine.
Cards can be purchased or made by hand. The homemade ones could involve the entire family creating a fun project or even starting a family tradition. They will become “keepsakes.”Be sure to write a few lines to personalize each one saying something unique so the receiver knows you are thinking especially of them.
Another option is the printed newsletter where folks can catch up with what’s going on in your life. Don’t grumble. Dear Abby did a survey on this subject. Hands down, people preferred a bad “brag rag” to no news at all! Here are some tips. Choose a theme- like “the year we took that cruise” or “since I retired…” It doesn’t have to be long or highly detailed. Just pick a few photos to highlight your family’s experience. Again, personalize each one with a few lines at the bottom and have everyone sign it if that’s possible.
Photo cards, the commercially printed ones like this giggly girl here, are tremendously popular. A picture is still worth a thousand words! There are many services available that will take your card list and mail the entire lot for the client. It gets the job done. But there is no way for you to personalize your cards. That’s my only issue here.
Just keep in mind, there’s nostalgia surrounding the paper card. “Grandma” and olden days are conjured up. A sense of reciprocity is stirred: get one, send one, the impulse is strong. It’s kind of magical!
The more popular digital becomes, the more unique that physical card is. -Chris Wu www.paperculture.co
So yes, paper holiday greeting cards still matter.