Greeting Cards Highlight – Calendar Cards

This holiday season I am sending calendar cards to all my correspondents. As a small business owner, I think this will be a great advertising tool. With my name business info printed at the bottom of the card my name, address, phone number and web address will be front and center throughout the year. My only problem is which card to choose since I find so many attractive. I have narrowed it down to my five favorites.

Four Seasons Calendar Card

The Leaves and Berries Calendar Card emits a peaceful feeling with all those soft colors of light teal, yellow and grey will make people want to look at this all year. They most likely would hang in a prominent place at their home or office.

On the other hand, the Four Seasons Calendar Card is equally attractive. The highlighting of the trees as they change from winter to spring then on to summer and fall are each set against a background of a vibrant color that also draws your eye.

My third card is the Sunny Day Calendar Card. It is just plain cheerful with its blue and yellow buildings, the sun shining over the entire scene. With the flag flying it almost feels like a Fair. The calendar section has a background of blue which I really like.

Small Town Calendar Card looks like a picture of Americana. You can almost feel yourself walking to Main Street to shop in every season. Colorful rolling hills give off a feeling of peaceful serenity.

My final choice would be the Sweet Seasons Calendar Card. Who doesn’t love a cupcake? These cupcakes have a character all their own. The winter one is decorated as a snowman sparkling with golden snow. Spring is decorated as a flower with April showers. The summer sparkles with red white & blue icing and sparkler candles. Autumn is all dressed up as a pumpkin amidst an avalanche of leaves.

Can you guess which I choose? Going with the sweets to sweeten the year for everyone. Here’s hoping it gets a prominent place close to the snack drawer!

Greeting Cards Highlight – City Scenes Christmas Cards

I have had the great pleasure of traveling around the country and visiting 42 of the 50 states. At different times of my life, I have been North, South, East and West and points along the way. When I viewed these great City Scenes Christmas cards, I was taken back to some of those fabulously happy trips.

Boston Beacon Hill Christmas Card

Being a fan of history, the quietly elegant Boston Beacon Hill card is one of my favorites. Traveling to Boston brought out the history buff in me. I was able to see where the tea was dumped in the harbor, I know the British thought dumping the tea was an act of vandalism (quite honestly we might think the same thing if it happened today), but to us it was one of the first steps in a revolutionary new concept of freedom. Bunker Hill, Faneuil Hall, the USS Constitution and Beacon Hill were some of the other sights I visited, but my favorite was the beautiful homes (where many famous people through the years have lived) in the Beacon Hill area. Oh and Boston has great New England Clam Chowder. Happy memories, great card, worth seeing for sure!

Seattle Harbor holiday card at twilight with its great scenic view was another favorite place I was privileged to see. The laid back welcoming attitude of the Seattle people leaves you feeling really good about the city. I remember standing in the very spot that is pictured on this beautifully rendered card and thinking I could enjoy watching this peaceful view forever. Now everyone knows Seattle has great coffee, but have you ever had a Hangtown Fry? That is an oyster/bacon omelet and it is worth visiting Seattle just to experience it.

Who couldn’t love the iconic Beverly Hills City Hall Christmas Card with the palm trees swaying in front? I loved the glitz and glam of this area. Who among us doesn’t dream of living with day after day of sunshine in one of those fabulous mansions? It may be a day dream, but I remember having a burger at the famous Brown Derby and enjoyed my day dreaming of the famously glamorous stars of the 40’s & 50’s walking through the door. It is amazing how many different foods are available in Beverly Hills and some of the most famous chefs have restaurants there. Everyone should visit the land of make believe at least once.

The Miami Skyline Christmas Card as viewed through the tree branches in this card bring back the really surprisingly vibrant energy that you feel in Miami. Party City for sure. The nightlife here has to be experienced! South Beach, Downtown or Wynwood/Midtown will provide a vast variety of nightlife and I enjoyed this immensely, of course, I was a little younger when I visited. This was also my first introduction to Cuban food. Great flavors without the really hot flavor in some other Spanish cuisines. Biting into a great Cuban sandwich will also transport me back to one of my favorite spots.

The New York City Skyline with Statue of Liberty Christmas Card is probably one the most beautifully moving pictures to me. Have grown up with this view all my life, I still never tire of it. There is a different feeling in New York than any other city in this country. The feeling of sophistication, the vibrancy of walking on the city streets, the culture that is so diverse and plentiful adds to the attraction of New York. It is considered one of the premier destinations for visitors from around the country and the world. This is where you get the best of the best from every different cuisine in the world. The best pizza, the best Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, French, German, etc. can be found here. But the absolute best treat is to have a hot pretzel from a street vendor, now that is food heaven.

As you can see I am a great foodie, but consider this foods as well as pictures trigger a happy response to all those great memories we have stored over the years. So eat, travel and live life to its fullest.

Should Your Office Have Casual Dress Attire?

There is currently a trend toward casual dress in the work place. The question in why your office should have casual dress and which form should it take. There are several modes of casual dress that are allowed by different corporations. There is casual business, casual and relaxed casual. The casual trend started in the 80’s & 90’s when people were being laid off in the corporate world. The general thinking was that employee morale would be raised by the relaxed atmosphere thereby increasing work output.


The casual business dress would mostly consist of khaki pants with no tie or jacket, but with a collared shirt. Golf shirts or button downs would be ok for men. Similar outfits for women, but perhaps a sleeveless blouse would also be allowed. Socks optional but shoes were a requirement. The casual dress code would allow jeans and t-shirts with sneakers, all clean and well maintained. The line was drawn at ripped jeans and tank tops. The relaxed casual introduced the wearing of shorts and sandals (no flip-flops) into the mix.

Although called dress down or casual days, these were initially reserved for Friday. The thought being that everyone would finish off the week by relaxing on their last work day. This led to a general trend of casual dress for the entire week. This spread gathered momentum after the turn of the century until the current day. It is believed that about 40% of businesses (usually who didn’t have face-to-face customer or client contact) have adopted the casual dress week.

There have been several studies done that point to the possibility that this trend has increased productivity 41% of the time. The belief being that when employees are relaxed they tend to feel more comfortable in their position and work at a higher capacity. The relaxed atmosphere is believed to add to greater spontaneity, better work conditions and improved relationships between employees. Several companies offer the casual dress policy as a benefit to working in their company. However, when considering a casual dress policy consideration should be given to spelling out exactly what is and isn’t allowed to avoid problems of poor taste or poor judgment.

How to Deal With Workplace Bullying

There has been a renewed recognition of bullying in the schools of America. Most have adopted a no bullying policy that is strictly adhered to. What is under recognized is the amount of workplace bullying that is practiced in many companies. Whether it is instigated by a superior or a peer, it is an insidious attack that comprises the company’s values and undermines the victim’s health and well being.


Workplace bullying takes many forms and is often hard to prove. It masks itself as joking, sarcasm and often an undervaluing of an employee’s performance. It adds additional stress to the victim which can translate into lost work hours and often increased health problems causing absenteeism and lost wages. Although it is not quite as blatant as sexual harassment, bullying may have a far longer run and cause extreme problems for the victim. Company morale can plummet causing a loss in productivity. Bullying often affects more than the victim, it will also have a profound affect on people who witness it. It will definitely cause a change to the company culture if left unchecked.

Statistics from the 2007 WBI-Zogby survey shows that 13% of US employees report being bullied currently, 24% claim to have been bullied in the past and 12% say they have witnessed bullying in the workplace. This statistic indicates a real problem that has caused 16 US states to initiate legislation directly citing bullying. Many countries around the world have already passed legislation, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada and Ireland.

The first step in combating bullying is to recognize when it occurs. Looking at the right indicators is important. Is the behavior repetitive? Is it escalating? Is the object of the bullying unable to successfully defend them? Is the behavior attributable to mal-intent? Certainly these are red flags that should at least make us investigate further.

Studies have recognized that there are 5 types of bullying behavior in the workplace:

  1. a distinct threat to professional status- belittling, humiliation, intimidating and misuse of discipline.
  2. a clear threat to personal standing among colleagues-inappropriate jokes, teasing, name calling, insults, and sarcasm.
  3. Isolating an individual-lessen opportunities, professional & personal separation, and excluding from functions, meetings or information.
  4. Extra workload-adding impossible deadlines, disruptions to the work flow
  5. lack of recognition-good work that is unacknowledged, meaningless tasks, constant reminding of mistakes.

Micromanagement and disrespect for an individual may not seem like bullying but it is subtle and long lasting and works to deprive a person of confidence and self esteem causing additional stress levels. Bullying in the workplace is often compared to domestic violence. It keeps the victim off balance with the hope that it will end and the fear that more abuse will occur at any time unexpectedly.

Exterminating bullying from the workplace will only take place when we recognize where and when it occurs. If you are being bullied you should make a detailed record with dates, examples and comments made. You should then take it further up the chain. If it is a superior doing the bullying go to their superior or to the personnel department and as a last resort the head of the company. If all these steps fail, you can go to the National Labor Board, where they will expect you to have facts, dates and any documentation that can be provided.  The best course of action is to refuse to be bullied, refuse to allow anyone else to be bullied and shine the light of day on the problem, wherever it occurs.

You can read more about bullying in the workplace at these sources:

Adams, Andrea – Bullying at Work: How to Confront and Overcome It

Barnes, Patricia G. – Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace

Brodsky, Carol M. – The Harassed Worker


Christmas Cards and Warm Family Feelings

When I was a little girl of six, I received a beautiful Christmas card in the mail. It was not addressed to the family, but just to me. You cannot imagine the thrill of seeing my name on an envelope with a stamp. It came from my girlfriend who lived just around the corner and she spent three cents to send me my very own Christmas cards. This was huge. I still remember the red cardinal sitting proudly on a barren branch with snow falling. Strange how those certain areas of our life are shaped by one small memory. My love of the Christmas season blossomed along with a life long love of greeting cards.

Season’s Greetings Cardinal Holiday Card

I cannot go into a store without looking at the greeting card display or pass up a greeting card catalog. The thought of sending a card on any occasion fills me with anticipation. Part of that is the thought of how someone will feel when they receive the card. I always imagine someone getting the mail out of the box, and the expression on their face when they see a card addressed to them. I suppose I am projecting my feelings of joy forward. I certainly hope that a small measure of my feelings can be felt through the card by the recipient. Good wishes should always carry through the paper, don’t you think?

Although, every occasion warrants a card, the holiday season will always be my favorite. There are so many beautiful cards to select. A lovely winter scene with smoke curling from a chimney, a frolicking quartet of snowmen or an ornament in brilliant colors festively displayed. The choices are so vast it makes me smile for days when I finally decide. Just imagine when I sit down and write out the cards, address the envelopes, then mail them off. Nothing says Christmas louder or more clearly than sending out the cards.

How lucky I am to have found a job later in my life working for a greeting card company? Going to work is a joy, pleasing people with our quality cards is a joy and most of all the hectic holiday season is joyful, tiring but joyful. I leave you with a wish for a wonderful holiday season filled with a mailbox of fabulous greeting cards!

Thanksgiving Cards – A Plus in the Corporate World

The business world has embraced sending corporate holiday cards as a way of reaching out to customers, clients and associates. Many cards are sent and received during the month of December with the result that you are never sure if your card is more than glanced at. We decided last year to send out Thanksgiving cards as a change of pace.

Scattered Leaves Holiday Card

Knowing that most businesses send out Season’s Greetings cards to be both politically correct and socially conscious, we thought why not Thanksgiving cards. Everybody in the United States celebrates on the same day for the same reason so you can’t offend anyone. In addition why not be the first card of the season received. Talk about standing out. How many times during the busy holiday season do you receive 10, 12 or more cards that you open and barely read? Well it works the same as at home. The first cards of the season you remember more because they come one at a time when you have a moment to read them.

Let’s think about how under appreciated Thanksgiving is as a holiday. It gets very little publicity because it is overshadowed by the coming Christmas period. In reality more people take time to relax and reflect with family and friends at Thanksgiving than any other holiday. A great meal, close family and good friends put you in such a pleasant state of mind, why not use this holiday to send a message of thanks to everyone you send corporate holiday cards to? You will be the first card received, get more notice than the other corporate cards and you will be sending a great message of thanks to all your customers.

We intend to send Thanksgiving cards from our company for the foreseeable future, until everyone catches on and then we may have to rethink our strategy, maybe consider being really first with New Year’s Cards. We’ll keep you posted.

Business Birthday Cards – To Bulk or Not to Bulk

Business birthday cards are a great asset to any business today. Who doesn’t like to receive a card on their birthday? You can put it on your desk or on a shelf at home. It tells the world that you are not forgotten. Somebody remembers you were born on a certain day. Whether you are a customer, client, employee or friend, being remembered makes you feel special. The question business’s have is not should you send birthday cards, but what kind should you buy. Bulk birthday cards offer you the best buy, but assortments give you variety.

Assorted Birthday Cards

Buying bulk birthday cards can save a good deal of money. When you want to personalize with the company name or logo, it makes sense to order a larger quantity of cards and get the savings. However, many businesses today are looking at a softer and more personal approach.

Assorted birthday cards will give you the option of choosing a particular card for a particular person. The variety of cards usually will have cards that are a combination of light, floral and neutral scenes. If you are sending to a man or woman you will have more of a selection. The downside of assorted birthday cards is that they usually cannot be personalized with your name or logo. You will have to sign these yourself, but that will be an even more personal touch. Since I send about twenty cards a month to clients, I like to write a little note that lends that extra personal touch.

The question to ask yourself is how many cards you will be using this year. Since you will probably be sending too many of the same people next year you will want to send a different card to them. The wise choice is to order enough for one year. Whichever route you choose for business birthday cards, will only enhance your standing among your customers.

Choosing Business Christmas Cards – Not for the Faint of Heart

Do you wonder why a certain person in the office is chosen to pick out the business Christmas cards? Is it their sense of style that sets them apart? Or perhaps it’s that they are favored by the boss. Maybe he values their opinion better than everyone else’s. If any of this has crossed your mind think again. If your office is anything like mine, the job goes to the person with the most patience.

Business Christmas Cards

Once upon a time, I was the person with the most patience. Then I was chosen as the Christmas cards selector. My boss said we need a nice card to send to our clients. It can’t be too corporate and it shouldn’t be too cutesy, but I trust you to choose wisely. First mistake I made was to feel pleased he had chosen me. I set about getting catalogs and searching websites with a purpose. A few days later my boss saw me looking at samples and said “You should show them around, get a consensus of what everyone likes”. I had no idea what was to come.

Do you know that in an office of 25 people there will be 30 opinions? It’s true that by the time you have surveyed 25 people, 5 people will have a new opinion. I’m sure you have seen this depicted on Discovery or the Learning Channel, because it is a unique phenomenon reserved for the human race and perfected in the American business office. There have been many studies done on it – it is caused by too much coffee and staring at computer screens too long. All sense of decorum departs with the mention of Christmas cards and a chance to break from the routine. It is encouraged by the fact that the person expressing the opinion does not have to make the decision.

Wisely I narrowed down the selection on the second go around to three choices –  one awful and two really nice cards. The opinions were evenly (and very vocally) divided between two cards, which I promptly presented to the boss with my decision. He chose the third card as our business Christmas cards that year, which nobody liked.

The moral of the story is never believe you are better than your neighbor and always inform the boss that you admire your neighbor’s sense of style. Uh oh, here comes the boss with a birthday card catalog- break time!

Expressing Condolences with Sympathy Cards

It is a natural reaction to avoid anything to do with death or funerals. The unfortunate result is that we are often unprepared and overwhelmed with the proper approach to take when a colleague, business associate or co-worker has a sudden loss in their family. The first step should be to send a sympathy card. Sympathy cards offer an appropriate sign that you are sensitive to the person’s loss.

Elegant Sympathy Cards

When we think about a loss of a loved one, we remember the people we received sympathy cards from. Business associates will certainly feel the same way. It seems a prudent practice to be prepared for the possibility that business sympathy cards would be needed at any given time. The world is becoming a smaller place and businesses are no longer behaving in a cold and detached manner. The trend toward a warmer approach has shown that people respond better when the businesses they deal with care about them.

There is no reason to limit your involvement to a sympathy card. When my father-in-law passed away, there were many people who came to the wake that were business associates. I cannot tell you how that impressed and comforted my mother-in-law. The capacity to show sympathy is not something to be underestimated.

When we are vulnerable all kindness is appreciated. Many times we ask ourselves what should we do. What are the proper words to say? Should we send a card or send flowers or visit. Ask yourself what would you like if you lost a loved one and you will have your answer. A flower, a card or a visit encourages us to remember we are not alone in our grief. Who among us would not rather do business with people who are caring and thoughtful? Keeping a supply of business sympathy cards will help prepare you to express that caring to others.