Express your appreciation and share your stories
December is one of the busiest months of the year. We are rushing to finish projects, going to holiday parties and buying gifts – all with one less week in the month for getting things done before the end of the year.
Why then, when time is so precious, do we make time to send holiday cards?
The tradition of holiday cards started in 1843 in the UK as a way to encourage more people to use the post office and as a way to send greetings without having to respond to a letter. As printing processes improved in the 1860s and 1870s, cards were printed in larger numbers so they became less expensive and more popular to send.
Today many organizations send holiday cards to clients, suppliers and in general anyone with whom they have a professional relationship. Isn’t this a waste of postage and paper? In our hectic world, we often don’t take time to say “thank you for your business” or “I appreciate working with you”. Holiday cards are one time of the year when this is encouraged.
For some, their annual Christmas letter is eagerly awaited because it is funny or shares stories of the year. A famous Harvard case study describes Heidi Roizen and her approach to networking. She views her annual newsletter as a way to stay in touch with her 500-person mailing list. In the accompanying video, she describes the lady at Kinko’s who remarked, “Honey, nobody has that many friends”. Because she takes time to make a creative newsletter, people want to read it.
Growing up, I remember looking forward to the stories of far-away places in the cards received by my parents. I enjoyed hearing about each of these families with their annual Christmas updates, first handwritten and gradually changing to printed letters. In an age without Facebook or LinkedIn, the annual Christmas card was the lifeline for maintaining friendships. Today I still enjoy receiving cards and reading highlights of the year – now from my friends around the world.
If you are preparing your holiday cards, take a moment to reflect on the importance of your relationship with those receiving them. Express your appreciation, even with just a few words. Let your holiday card be one of the ways that you tell people you value their friendship, working with them or having them among the people you know.
In the spirit of this post, I would like to express my appreciation to you for journeying together through this year.
Best wishes for a very happy holiday and a great start to 2019!
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