In a world in which many of us maintain relationships via social media and other digital correspondence – Facebook, email, and text messages have made handwritten letters nearly obsolete. If you’re like me, your holiday card is the only piece of personal snail mail that you send all year, as well as the only time you may communicate with at least a good portion of your holiday card recipients. With that in mind, consider the following guidelines when preparing your holiday greetings.
What sort of impression do you want to make?
More than anything your holiday card is an opportunity to leave an impression. A good holiday card is not only signed by you but also a reflection of you. Do you want a card that is traditional? Unique? Funky? Humorous? Reflective on the past year? Positive about the upcoming year?
Capturing the perfect picture
Photo cards are very popular, largely because they can very quickly convey a story – highlights from the past year or a special trip, the personality of you and your family, your mood and perspective. Photographer Laura Winslow suggests that you consider outfits that are coordinating but not matchy-matchy. Also, keep in mind that the best pictures are often the ones in which everyone is laughing or otherwise being him or herself. If you have children, use the picture as an opportunity to capture what your child is like at this unique stage in his or her life. See more of Laura’s tips in The Party Dress Magazine Holiday Issue.
Consider your audience
Keep your purpose and recipients in mind when deciding on the type and wording of your card. If your recipient list includes people celebrating various religious holidays, consider a general “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” message. According to Emily Post, digital greetings, such as email, are perfectly acceptable if they are appropriate to your recipient. Your great aunt Verna may appreciate a snail mail card much more than an email or Facebook shout-out. Emily also suggests that electronic greetings should be worded just as you would a traditional card.
Show you care
Keep in mind that small gestures make a big difference in showing your thoughtfulness. Consider writing a brief personal note on the card, or at least signing your John Hancock. If you can manage, hand address envelopes with a colorful pen from your local arts and crafts store and use a stamp rather than a postage meter.