Right about now is a good time to start thinking about the Christmas cards you’ll be sending out this year. It’s always smart to buy your cards early so you can begin working on your list early – that way you won’t be struggling to finish your shopping, wrap your presents, plan Christmas parties, and write your Christmas cards at the same time.
This time around let’s look at some etiquette guidelines for sending Christmas cards to business associates.
Choosing the Right Cards
If you’re sending cards to co-workers, vendors, clients, employers, or other business associates, you’ll probably want to choose a different card than the one you are sending to your family and friends. You want something a little more formal and more secular – remember you don’t necessarily know any one person’s religious leanings so don’t presume. Instead of “Merry Christmas” cards choose “Seasons Greetings” or “Joy to the World” cards. A few good examples are the Blue Bauble cards, the Snowflake with Stripes cards, or the Global Ornaments cards.
Make sure you create a list of recipients before you order so you’ll know exactly how many to purchase. You don’t want to run out then end up not being able to purchase the same cards for the rest of your business associates.
Other Christmas Card Etiquette Rules to Remember
When you are sending cards to individuals with whom you only have a business relationship, make sure to send the cards to their office not their home address. It’s also completely acceptable to address those cards to only that individual unless you also know their spouse. Likewise, sign only your name to those cards unless your spouse or family has met them as well.
If you are sending cards to your co-workers, you should mail those cards directly to their home address. Don’t pass them out in the office, especially if you don’t have a Christmas card for everyone. If you know the individual is married, then address it to “Mr. and Mrs. Name and Family.” If you’re not sure, then address it to the person and Family.
You should take the time to add a brief message even to your Christmas cards for business associates, but your message should be more formal and concise than what you would write to friends and family. You might want to wish the person continued success in the New Year, for example. Remember not to include any family newsletters or other personal information you might send to other recipients.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting until the last minute to purchase their Christmas cards so the selection is very limited. Just as you want to select wedding invitations that reflect your personality, you also want to choose Christmas cards that do the same so you need to start shopping early.
Also, you want to remember that you don’t have to stick to traditional motifs for your Christmas cards. You can be a little creative. Cards displaying cute or funny images of animals and pets, for example, are a good choice and usually bring a smile to the face of the recipient. If you want to remind recipients of what they are missing because of the cold weather or if you live in a warm climate yourself, then tropical & beach Christmas cards might be another interesting choice.
Getting Your Christmas Cards in the Mail
First, you’ll need to buy stamps. Most Christmas cards won’t require anything more than an ordinary first-class stamp (41 cents each) but if you have a particularly large card or you’ve included other items, such as a newsletter or photographs, you may want to have it weighed just in case. I recommend buying holiday stamps for your Christmas cards because it’s just more fun and seasonal. Usually, you can buy the holiday stamps in packs of 20 from automatic machines, from the post office directly, and from the Internet. If you go online to usps.com, you can view their selection of holiday stamps, including stamps for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.
When you address your Christmas cards, make sure your handwriting is legible. The post office recommends printing in block letters so they can read the writing more clearly. You should also include your return address on every card. This serves two important purposes. For one, the post office will be able to return the card to you if it can’t be delivered. Additionally, your recipients will have your address in case they want to send a card back to you.
One last thing about mailing Christmas cards is don’t wait until the last minute to get them in the mail. During that last five to seven days before Christmas, the post office is swamped and there’s a good chance your card won’t make it to your recipients. Instead, mail the cards in advance so you don’t have to worry about the rush. Remember you can mail your holiday cards any time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but the best time is in the first few weeks of December.