Even though Halloween is only a couple of days away, stores are already setting up displays for the Christmas and holiday seasons. I walked into a Lowes the other day and there, large as life, were fake Christmas trees for sale. And all sorts of other holiday stuff.
At the Emily Post Institute those displays can mean only one thing: an influx of holiday-oriented questions from around the country. Among the first will be questions about holiday greeting cards, so for those of you organized types who are getting out your address books, here are some of our top tips:
- Plan ahead. This is my personal failing. If you start now you might actually get that card with a picture of your spouse and/or children or pet printed up and ready to send before Valentine’s Day.
- Make a list, check it twice. Make a list of recipients so you’ll know how many to order or purchase. This is also a good time to update addresses, too.
- Not their holiday. You can send a greeting card to a person who doesn’t celebrate your holiday, but be mindful of the message and send a seasonal rather than a religious card.
- Electronic or traditional in the mail? There’s no one size fits all here. Digital cards may look great on the screen, but printed out on twenty-pound white printer paper, they may look pretty dull and uninteresting compared to the traditional cards hanging next to them in a person’s home. You may choose to send a digital card to people whom you know will enjoy hearing from you that way and send traditional cards to digitally challenged individuals. Review your list (tip 2 above) and see if your recipients are better served with a digital or a traditional greeting.
- Bag the brag. Beware the long message detailing all your and your family’s accomplishments during the past year. It’s a greeting card, not an in-depth accounting of all your activities.
- Do you have to reciprocate? No. But remember, if you don’t, you may find yourself not receiving a card in the future. It’s a good idea to order a few extra cards in case you would like to reciprocate with someone who sends you a card for the first time. As the sender, send to whom you want and don’t be annoyed if someone doesn’t send one in return.
- Work or home? If you want to give a greeting card to a work colleague, send it to his or her home or give it outside of the office. That way you avoid the possibility of others feeling unappreciated.
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About the author
Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."