Before you prepare to send out another batch of holiday cards this year, take a moment to consider why you’re doing it. For some, it’s part of how they express their holiday spirit. To you, I say have at it! Seasons greetings!
But for many, it’s a business development strategy - an excuse to touch base with their second tier of relationships. It’s a way of saying “Hey, I’ve barely spoken to you all year, but I wanted you to know that I haven’t forgotten you. You still mean something to me.” To accomplish this, we send out a bunch of generic hallmark cards with our name scrawled at the bottom. Maybe it’s just me, but I find the gesture ineffective.
In most cases, when I receive a generic holiday card, I don’t think to myself, “Aw gee, they cared enough to send me this.” Instead I think, “I’m on their second tier list.” I also think about the trees.
And if you quizzed me on any given Tuesday as to who sent me a holiday card on Monday, I’d probably draw a blank. This all seems incongruent with the original intention: to celebrate the occasion, and to maintain, or perhaps even deepen, our relationships.
So, this holiday season, I encourage you not to engage in the typical holiday card campaign. Don’t send 500 generic cards. Send 10 personalized ones. Go deep instead of broad. Let the recipient know that you’re the kind of person who is willing to take 60 seconds out of your day to write a thoughtful, personal sentence or two. You’ll save a few trees and strengthen a few relationships. And the 490 people who didn’t get a card from you this year probably won’t even notice.
By David Ackert