Business Holiday Greeting Card Etiquette
If you’re in charge of sending out the holiday cards or holiday gift baskets this year for the office, you may not know just how to do it. What’s acceptable these days? Can you send a gift along with your card? Is it ok to hand write them? Is it expected?
Businesses have changed. Gone are the days of the staunch, formal office. Even in the most conservative offices it’s acceptable to be a little more relaxed these days. That doesn’t mean you can be lax in your holiday etiquette.
There are a few guidelines even in today’s more casual world. First off, select a holiday card that is on good stock and well printed. This is not the time to grab cards off the discount rack at the dollar store. You are presenting an image of your company and a person’s perception of your business is only as good as your last correspondence. Spend the extra few dollars and get cards that are elegant.
Can you have your company name printed inside your cards? Sure. Do you have to? No. You can hand write a note. In fact, it is even more personal if you don’t have your company’s name printed on the inside of the card. A short note that says “happy holidays” is fine. Sadly in this day and age it’s not ok to say “Merry Christmas” as someone might get offended if that’s not what they celebrate. For business purposes, don’t include any mention to a specific holiday. You don’t want to risk alienating the one person there who objects to a certain holiday. So keep it generic.
Never use a rubber stamp inside your card. Simply stamping in “The Braxton Corporation” is cold and lifeless. Take the time to sit and sign the company’s name. Even if all you write is, “From everyone at Braxton” it’s much better than a rubber stamp. It’s perfectly fine to rubber stamp your company’s address on the outer envelope, of course.
Who should you send cards to? Everyone you do business with should get a card. From the biggest client to the courier who drops off your mail, send a card to everyone who is a vendor or business client. If you cross paths with a business from the outside, send a card. It’s not necessary to send a business holiday card to every employee internally in a large company. However, if you have fewer than 20 employees, why not go the extra step? Have the company president sign it and write a short message.
What you say in your card is just as important as what the card looks like. Nothing controversial should be mentioned in a holiday card. Never mention business. Saying, “Hope we win your account!” inside a holiday card is tactless. However, writing a heartfelt, “Looking forward to working with you this year” is ok.
Think before you send anything. What you might think is funny might not be appropriate for everyone on the recipient’s end. Stay away from any off-color humor or cartoons even if you think they’re hysterical, and you know the client will too. Often a secretary opens those cards and even hangs them without higher ups seeing them first. Err on the side of caution, and everyone will have a happy holiday!