No email, go snail mail for holiday cards

Despite my affection for online communication, I have to insist that snail mail is best for the holiday season.

After all, an electronic card just tells the recipient that you know how to click on send or forward. Little thought has gone into it. And it will likely end up in the delete bin.

Snail mail, on the other hand, demonstrates more effort, especially if you add a hand-written note.

What’s more, the card will sit on your friend’s desk or become part of the holiday decor in their home.

Paper cards are also an opportunity to connect with business prospects. A word of caution here: if they are overtly sales-oriented to people who don’t remember you, they are a waste of tree. Think of how unimpressed you are by full-logo cards from the stranger who has mistakenly identified you as a candidate for wealth management services.

But it’s fine to send cards to people you don’t know that well. Some executives I like, but wouldn’t normally send personal email to, are on my card list. In addition, I’ll be sending them to many casual acquaintances. Most will simply be flattered to know I remembered them well enough to think of a card.

For me, the most important people on my list are the many people I don’t know well enough to invite over for turkey but have enjoyed working with or talking to throughout the year. I don’t get enough chances to acknowledge them.

However, these people won’t feel the love if I disrespect their religious beliefs. So I make sure any Jesus cards go only to people who will appreciate them. But I do include Muslim, Jewish and friends of all spiritual persuasions on my mailing list. They too enjoy feeling part of the good will of the holiday season.

Another way to share the holiday spirit is to buy cards from charities or companies that are donating a portion of the proceeds to a good cause. Better still, make a donation to causes your important people support.

Of course, no one wants to waste paper, so make sure the cards are printed on recycled stock.

One last point: hand-write your envelopes. It guarantees people will open them instead of aiming for the recycle bin, which sits close to the mail slot on most front porches and desks. It’s also a good way to practice those rusty penmanship skills. And again, it shows you have taken the time.

I’m not going Emily Postal here. I just think it’s important to make technology choices wisely. I love opening, reading and displaying my Christmas cards. And I’m sure most other people do too.

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One Response

  1. Although I tend balk at the climbing cost of cards, it’s hard to beat a tactile greeting wrapped in an envelope. I’ve found that many of the online cards I’ve received require a plug-in to actually be seen and read. That’s a chore I’m not prepared to take on for the sake of reading a click-and-send card.

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