Christmas Cards and their Lasting Beauty

It’s February and I just put away the Christmas cards that were sent to me this past holiday. You may wonder why it took me this long. Yes, I know it’s been a month and a half since Christmas but I was enjoying the artistry of the holiday cards and didn’t feel the need to take them down immediately. Or maybe I’m just lazy!

During the Christmas season, I display all of the holiday cards that my husband and I receive on the back of our front door. With a little tape and strategic positioning, the door quickly turns into a collective masterpiece of Christmas trees, ornaments, snowmen, and landscapes. Photo cards showcase the smiling faces of our nieces, nephews, and friends’ children, who all seem to grow up faster and faster every year. Also included are business Christmas cards extending season’s greetings from our employers and colleagues. It’s nice to pass by the colorful display and admire all of the well wishes sent to us by friends and family.

All good things must come to an end though, so I relented and decided it was time to take down the holiday cards. I don’t throw them out because I like to reuse the designs in creative and eco-friendly ways. Greeting cards are perfect for making decorations or adding some style when wrapping gifts. Keeping our Christmas cards also ensures that we include each sender on next year’s mailing list. I look forward to seeing new cards next Christmas!

Purchase Your Personalized Christmas Cards with Confidence

When you get your car fixed, buy a new appliance, or hire a contractor for a home remodeling project, isn’t it nice to know that you are doing business with a company you can trust? Certification by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives you that peace of mind. The presence of the BBB seal tells you that a company is reliable, legitimate, and performs to high ethical and service standards. With so many organizations out there trying to win your business, this information can help you weed out the best from the rest.

The Gallery Collection received BBB certification in June 2007, so you can feel secure when ordering your personalized Christmas cards from us. And in addition, we have taken it one step further by participating in the BBB OnLine Reliability program. This program adds another measure of confidence for consumers shopping on our website. By adhering to the BBB’s requirements for this program, we’re helping to develop consumer trust in the World Wide Web as a safe and secure place to shop. We protect our customers by following the important codes of conduct outlined by the BBB. These practices range from safely encrypting your credit card information during transactions to pledging customer satisfaction by honoring what we advertise online, answering questions and resolving any disputes.

We recognize that trust is even more important when shopping online in comparison to traditional brick and mortar stores. The Better Business Bureau is a well-known organization in both worlds and its mission is to instill trust in the marketplace. Whether you’re ordering corporate Holiday cards from us or a pair of shoes from another online merchant, you can feel safe whenever you see the BBB OnLine Reliability seal.

BBB Stamp 2008

Our Personalized Christmas Cards Trump All

Christmas may be over, but our holiday cards seem to be inadvertently popping up all over the media. And the ironic part is our employees are the ones who are making these discoveries, simply by turning on the television or by flipping through a gossip magazine. Our latest unplanned feature was detected by our very own CEO, who was scanning the pages of a recent issue of Page Six Magazine from the New York Post when he stumbled across an image of design 491CS, which looks like this:

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And for your viewing pleasure, here is the page that the image was found on:

What a Bunch of Cards - Page Six Magazine
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This popular Season’s Greeting card, purchased by Ivana Trump, is being featured with several other holiday greeting cards sent by notable New Yorkers including celebrity chef Todd English, newscaster Deborah Norville, and Dylan Lauren, owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar. Of all the cards on the page, I think ours is the nicest (do you sense a bit of partiality?).

This isn’t the first time that Ivana placed an order of personalized Christmas cards with us. She has purchased cards from us every year for the past few years. Here is one that she recently ordered, design 447CW, which she had personalized with an imprint:

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It’s only natural that the former wife of the Donald would purchase her cards from The Gallery Collection. Like Ivana, our cards are the embodiment of luxury and elegance. Our embossed designs with rich foil accents are a classic choice…and they’re certainly extravagant enough for a patrician of the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

And since we’re on the topic of the Trumps, in 1998 we received an order from Trump Plaza for 23,525 units of retired design 001CX (Embossed Golden Pines by Walter Brooks). The employee ordering the cards volunteered to our representative the following tale: In the process of selecting this card, the employee’s team had collected over one hundred sample cards from a large number of greeting card publishers. The team was then asked to narrow the collection down to the best seven cards for presentation to a selection committee, which would then select the final card. All seven of the cards chosen were published by The Gallery Collection. And so the moral of the story – our personalized Christmas cards trump all.

The Appropriateness of Seasons Greeting Cards

When it’s time to place your order of holiday cards, you should ask yourself which message is best – Merry Christmas or Season’s Greetings? I usually prefer to purchase greeting cards with Season’s Greetings on the cover when choosing business Christmas cards for co-workers and associates because it’s a benign and pleasant phrase that pertains to most if not all people. Of the holiday card recipients who are not your family or your close friends, you shouldn’t assume that everyone celebrates Christmas. There’s also Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and many religions don’t even celebrate any of the aforementioned holidays. So play it safe with Seasons Greeting cards so as not to accidentally offend anyone who is to receive a card from you.

With your family and friends, however, you don’t have to play it so safe. If all of your relatives and close acquaintances celebrate Christmas, then why not send a holiday card that says Merry Christmas. I highly doubt your Aunt Mary who has gone to mass every Sunday for her entire life would be offended in anyway if you send her a Merry Christmas card. There’s a time and place for political correctness, and it should not interfere with how you express your sentiments to your loved ones during the holiday season. For my family and friends, I purchase a separate set of holiday cards with Merry Christmas on the cover. I prefer to pick cards that are festive and fun because when it comes to the people I love most, I like to leave a smile on their faces after they’re done reading my personalized Christmas cards.

Personalized Christmas Cards and New Family Traditions

It’s a wonderful feeling to open up your mailbox at the end of a long day to find personal Christmas cards. I’m so used to receiving bills that it is a welcome treat to see beautiful Christmas greeting cards from my aunt in Florida and my best friend from childhood. I look forward to receiving these heartfelt greetings every holiday season.

And now that I am a mother, I want to encourage my children to send personal greeting cards to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. I believe that keeping the art of letter-writing and card-sending alive is very important in this age of emailing, blogs, instant messenger, text messaging, and chat rooms.

Since I work for The Gallery Collection, when sending a personalized greeting card, I always look at our collection first because I truly believe we make the most beautiful holiday cards out there. The embossing and foils add such richness to the cards’ original designs that I do not need to look beyond our website or catalog. This year I asked my children to help choose the best card for our family. They decided on design 491CS, the Seasons Greetings Snowfrost Ornament card which looks like this:

Seasons Greetings Snowfrost Ornament card

As a family, we spent some time creating a greeting to express our sentiment for the holiday season and our wishes for the New Year. Our custom Christmas cards were printed in elegant silver foil to add a final touch of elegance. So now, our holiday cards are complete and ready for mailing, and with this comes a new family tradition of personalizing our holiday greetings together.

City Scenes at Christmas Time

I’ve always loved New York City at Christmas time. Seeing all the holiday shoppers bustle by, laden with packages for their loved ones. I especially treasured how beautiful the city looks when dusted in fluffy white snow, just like a scene from a movie.

There really is nothing like visiting New York City at Christmas time. There is so much to do there and I have so many fond childhood memories of skating at Rockefeller Center and going to see the Rockettes put on their spectacular show at Radio City. I always look for Christmas Cards that remind me and my recipients of the fun that can be had during the holidays.

Of course, whenever visiting the city you do not want to miss the tree lighting ceremony. There is that truly awe-inspiring moment when the tree is first lit and you can hear an audible gasp amongst the crowd. You just know you are witnessing something really special that relatively few ever get to experience. My mother, who grew up in the city, is no longer a fan of making the trip and this makes me sad. For the last five years, I’ve tried to convince her to go with me, but to no avail. She does not like the hurried pace and traffic noise. I can understand why this may not appeal to her and had almost given up trying but, this year, I was feeling a little inspired.

So on the first cold day of the season as we were sipping our hot cocoa and trying to decide which holiday card to send, I started to talk about the good old days. I painted her a mental picture of a city scene all decked out at Christmas time with lights twinkling and holiday music playing. I told her how we could go in the city during the early morning hours when the noise was more of a lull and slipped in a promise of a trip around in a horse drawn carriage and guess what? She finally agreed and we plan to go visit the tree this year. After that, we’re off to the department stores for a little Christmas shopping and then some lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. Of course, we will end the day with the carriage ride I promised as we tour the city in style. I can’t wait!

Christmas Cards worth Keeping

The other day I was busily running around the house doing the “honey-do’s.” I’m not sure if that expression is sailor talk? I’ve no idea where it came from other than all of my friends who are sailors call them that. A Honey-do is the around the house chore, often completed on the weekend at the expense of some other activity with friends. Why’s it called a “Honey-do”? Because the person asking for the things done is normally “Honey” and when speaking to you they are saying “Honey do this, Honey do that, Honey are you done yet? When you are done, Honey, can you do this over here!?” I digress, this post was not supposed to be about Honey do’s, but rather what happened to me the other day while doing things for honey around the house. I had a surprisingly unexpected and reflective moment.

By late afternoon, I had achieved quite a few things. I’d thrown out innumerable children’s toys that were missing pieces. I’d picked up clothes strewn all over the house. I’d stuffed the summer things from the attic into the basement storage closet, and I found myself approaching seeming completion of the Honey-do list, which by the way is impossible. Think asymptote…look it up if you don’t know the definition. It’s almost as obscure as the word fungible.

Anyhow, seriously my last trip to the attic, avoiding successful completion of the honey-do’s, I wandered over to another area of the attic and started cleaning up random things. I had found an old file box. It was white cardboard with black ends and a little string that wraps around to keep the box shut. The top of the box was dusty and slightly discolored with age. I recognized the box as something I had cleaned out of my Mom’s home years ago. As I unwrapped the string and opened the box I remembered what it was…this box represented the very last “thing” that I possessed containing items from my deceased father. Sadly, he died a painful and slow death on September 21, 1985. I was barely a young man and it was a very difficult time.

So here I was, just more than 22 years later in my attic sitting on the floor in front of a file box with the last few things from my deceased dad. I opened the box to see what I had once only barely glanced at. The file box contained papers. It was only about one third full. I had never done anything before except just glanced inside. I really had never wanted the torture of revisiting his death and I think I feared that there might be something in the box that would only open more questions than provide answers. Whatever was in that box on those papers that my father had kept wouldn’t bring him back. I wasn’t even sure they were papers he had kept. For all I knew they were random papers lying about gathered and thrown into a box.

I reached in and rummaged around. There were mostly 8½” x 11″ business stationery-type documents…a lot of my Dad’s work stuff. Only really now as I write this do I fully realize that this box contains items cleaned from my father’s desk, from his “junk/memento” drawer. I have one of those too, something I guess in common with the man now dead for more than 1/2 of my life and really all of my adult life. There were letters, memos, faded pictures and press clippings. Things my father was proud of. As I thumbed the papers deciding what to read first, I found a small collection of envelopes. I chose one as the first item to read from this long avoided box of mystery. I pulled from the envelope a small piece of lined paper that was wrapped around a greeting card. I was surprised and smiled slightly, I think. A greeting card…I hadn’t expected it. The envelope wasn’t a shape that I expected to contain a card and it was hiding within the lined paper. The card was from my grandmother to my father. It was a Christmas card. “Merry Christmas my dear son” it read. I paused, staring into the attic rafters for some time just thinking. I turned the envelope over to look at the front. It was postmarked December 16, 1978. I thought, my Dad kept this, a simple Christmas card. It really meant something to him I dreamily pondered.

I went on to find a dozen or so greeting cards. They were all Birthday cards and Christmas cards, mostly from my grandmother to my Dad. I don’t know how long I was there just sitting in the attic thinking, skimming through papers, photographs and the cherished greeting cards. Soon though, it did occur me to get back to the chores. Company was coming for dinner and I needed to have my business taken care of before they arrived. I closed the box up and left it in the middle of the floor. Our company came and we had a nice time.

The next day, before heading to the office, I made my way up to the attic with a permanent black marker and I wrote on that box “Under no circumstances should this box ever be thrown out!” I will head back up there someday to peruse and read some more. But for now, those dusty old personal Christmas cards my Dad kept are just more of the things I keep for sentimental reasons, my last connection to someone I barely know but miss dearly.

Sadly I find myself here 22 years later, on a plane to Las Vegas, tearfully typing.

Personalized Christmas Cards – to Imprint or Not to Imprint? That is the Question.

Around this time of year, I have to decide what to do about my Christmas Cards. My first decision is where do I get my cards? Even though I work here, I have to be honest and say that the most impressive Corporate Christmas Cards I came across were the ones we offer. They are classy and elegant, which is totally my style. But I did have to ask myself, are Holiday Cards for businesses also suitable to give to family members? I decided what matters most is the thought behind it. There are so many beautiful Holiday designs to choose from that I can select one that suits my style. You can choose to say Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. You can even say it in more than one language. An abundance of beautiful winter scenes, tree landscapes, ornaments and even fun Santa cards can be found for whatever suits your needs. I can even select one of the many photo cards available.

After choosing an intricate and shimmering ornament design, I gave some serious thought to which greeting and imprinted message I want to send to my friends and family to convey the sentiment of the holiday season. I have a very large family and feel sometimes it’s easier to get greeting cards imprinted rather than handwrite them myself. Some of my family members love to get cards that include a handwritten, personalized message, while others are happy to be remembered whether it be with a handwritten message or an imprinted one. This year, I decided to get my personal Christmas Cards imprinted, but for those family members who love to see that handwritten message, I will take the time to add that extra touch. So, with all that being settled, I’m on to the next item on my Christmas to-do list.

A Merry Christmas Greeting Card from Shane

I have been thinking a lot lately about a Merry Christmas greeting card I received last year from a distant acquaintance. I will never forget the feeling I had opening it. It is the similar feeling to the one I get when I see a piece of mail addressed to me (provided it’s not a bill). I was with my friend Megan, who is also an acquaintance of Shane. The card was beautiful…a winter scene with a pair of cardinals in flight in the background. “Merry Christmas,” the card read in silver cursive. Before I even got a chance to open it and see what was written inside, Megan exclaimed, “Merry Christmas? Doesn’t he understand that sending out Merry Christmas greeting cards is not politically correct?! How does Shane know that you are Christian?” You have to understand something about Megan – she is dear to me, but likes to make a big deal out of everything.

Although her point was valid, especially in the world today where we try to be inclusive of all creeds and cultures, it didn’t even register to me that Shane’s card could be offensive. I was floored to receive any correspondence from him; I didn’t care what it said on the outside! The fact that he thought of me during the busy Holiday season and decided to reach out to me at all overwhelmed any other feeling I could have had about cards that say Merry Christmas. I think that is what all cards, including Holiday cards, are intended to do. The simple act of purchasing a beautiful card, writing warm wishes on the inside, and walking it to the mailbox filled me with some needed Holiday cheer. I wish I could say the same for Megan!

When she went home that night and looked in her mailbox, she saw that she, too, had a beautiful Merry Christmas card from Shane. Megan showed it to me the next day. This time there were no remarks about political correctness or Christianity. She was deeply touched by Shane’s card. I still have the card he sent me to this day. I also kept the envelope so that I can surprise him with a Christmas card this year, and hopefully make him feel the way I did last year.

A Monet Card – A Masterpiece and an Unforgettable Christmas Card

Last year, I received a Personalized Christmas card from my town for volunteering at a community Holiday function. The card featured the lovely painting Near Honfleur, one of Claude Monet’s most famous snowscapes. Normally, I would keep Christmas cards hanging in my office for about a month or so after the Holidays and then throw them away but this one, I felt, was different. This beautiful masterpiece greeting card deserved to be hung in my office all year long, and the compliments I received were overwhelming.

While I could probably never purchase a true original painting by Claude Monet, having Monet cards make me feel like I have a mini art gallery in my office. I am hopeful that next year I will receive another Holiday card that is a stunning reprint of a new famous artist or even another Monet masterpiece.