Holiday card etiquette in the business world

8 Guidelines for sending your current or former employer a holiday card

With ongoing change a mantra for today’s digital age, the importance of traditional gestures – such as sending holiday greeting cards – is sometimes in question.

For example, is sending the boss a holiday card a good idea?

If so, is it better to send a quick email with holiday wishes, or is a traditional paper card the way to go? Reference-checking firm Allison & Taylor recommends that it is indeed a good idea to send your boss a holiday greeting.

An appropriate greeting can make a favorable impression: approximately 50% of holiday card recipients indicate they are more likely to do future business with a company (or an individual) that sends holiday greeting cards.

Follow these guidelines to best ensure that your card creates the desired effect:

Non-denominational cards or e-cards are best. Choose a high-quality holiday card that allows no possibility of offending its recipient. Remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas – be mindful of religious and cultural nuances, particularly with your international recipients.

Timing is everything. Remember that many companies close during the holidays and people take vacation to be with family, so send your cards early. Also note the possibility that a recipient of your card may want (out of consideration or guilt) to respond with a card back to you prior to the holidays. Aim to have all your corporate holiday cards in the mail or email no later than December 15th.

Keep it tasteful. Choose a design that is appropriate for your business associates.

Neat and legible for snail mail. Be sure that your inscriptions on the outside of the card are both legible and attractive. Consider using a form of calligraphy to make your recipient’s name and address visibly pleasing. Also, be sure to include your return address on the mailing envelope.

Sign each card personally and do not send bulk greetings. It only takes a moment to sign your name and write a short greeting, and your business associates will notice and appreciate this personal gesture.

Accuracy is key.  Keep your contact list accurate and up-to-date. This is critical for your reference future.

Do a spell check. Check the spelling of your contacts and their corporate name. The gesture behind a holiday card will be lost if you misspell your contact’s name or corporate information.

Provide current information. Include one of your business cards or electronic signatures with your contact information, so that your recipients have your most current contact information.  It will reinforce your name with the card’s recipient.

Remember too that many of your card recipients may one day become your references – intended or otherwise.

Allison & Taylor notes that approximately half of all reference checks they conduct reveal negative input from the references. Sending an appropriate and thoughtful holiday greeting will surely work to your favor in cultivating your professional relationships and references.

– AllisonTaylor