Here’s a great way to stand out during the holiday season.
When I owned Creative Courseware, we broke with the custom of sending holiday or Christmas cards during December. Instead, we sent out cards at Thanksgiving—each of them with a personal note and our signatures. This made an impression on our clients, contractors and other professional friends. It was a bonus one year when our Thanksgiving tradition was spotlighted in The Kansas City Star.
- We stood out because very few companies send out Thanksgiving cards.
- We avoided the awkwardness of finding a card for those who do and those who don’t celebrate Christmas.
- We also avoided adding an extra project to our busy year-end.
- We were able to update our contact database because the cards with out-of-date addresses were returned.
Over the years, we changed or added to the card’s design. We always handwrote the addresses and chose Thanksgiving or fall-themed stamps. For a few years, we had the cards designed and handmade. Once I took on making enough punch-out leaf shapes from fall-colored paper to include in the cards. I wouldn’t recommend it. It took too many nights in front of the TV. And the responses we got didn’t make up for my sore hands. During the more recent years, when our database climbed to more than 300 names, we resigned ourselves to buying preprinted cards, but continued to use our handwriting on the outside of the envelope and inside the card.
One year, we got behind and missed the Thanksgiving window. Instead, we sent Happy New Year cards. Sadly, they got mixed in with Christmas cards and the landslide of catalogs and advertising pieces. The only feedback we got was from people who missed getting our cards at Thanksgiving. We never missed again.
You can send cards at other times of the year, too. Barnett and Shirley Helzberg are a stand-out example. They send greetings near Valentine’s Day with a family photo and little package of “I Am Loved” buttons. They send these to all the members of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, plus probably hundreds of others. I look forward to receiving mine each February.
Everyone appreciates being thanked. In my company, we wanted to make sure our thanks got to those who have made a difference to us and to our company. Happily, our thanks didn’t get lost in the multitudes of holiday catalogs and mail.