Personalized Christmas Cards – They’re More Than Just Cards

When I was younger, my dad owned a pharmacy in a typical suburban town. It was the type of town where everyone knew everyone, and the same customers would come in to pick up their prescriptions and purchase their toiletries and other odds and ends. The pharmacy was like a village square…a place where you could shop while catching up on the town gossip. One resident would be purchasing shampoo and run into her neighbor, who was picking up her high blood pressure medication. Then another neighbor from down the street would pop her head in to say hello, and before long, the whole town was having a conversation in the shampoo aisle.

But in spite of all the blathering and nattering, the customers were incredibly loyal to my dad’s pharmacy and would come back to shop time and time again. Even if an item was temporarily out of stock, most customers would just wait until the item was restocked versus going to another pharmacy.

One year, my dad decided to send personalized Christmas cards to his VIP customers. He asked if I would help him stuff these imprinted Holiday Cards and address the envelopes, and I said yes. Little did I know he had over 300 VIP customers, so that was over 300 envelopes to handwrite, stuff, and lick shut.

After we were about halfway through, I stopped and asked my dad: “Why in the world are you going through all this trouble to mail out these business greeting cards? They’re probably going to end up in the garbage anyway.” He responded by saying: “Come to work with me the day after Christmas, and you’ll understand why.”

So the day after Christmas, I went to work with my dad. We arrived at the store bright and early in preparation for all the crazy post-Christmas shoppers. Before long, the doors were unlocked and the store flooded with customers. Except the customers weren’t congregating in the aisles and talking to their neighbors about their Christmas festivities but instead, they were standing around my dad to thank him for their personalized Christmas cards and to inquire about my family’s holiday.

At that moment, I realized why my dad decided to mail out personalized Christmas cards to his VIP customers. These customers kept the pharmacy in business for so many years, and it was his way of letting them know how much he appreciated them. So if you are looking to express gratitude to a few or several people (or 300 VIP customers), a great way to make your appreciation known is with an imprinted Christmas card.

The Grinch who stole the Christmas Card

There is something special about those great Mastercard commercials on television that just bring a smile to your face when they say the word “priceless”. Inspired by their series, this is the first in a series of installments. May they bring a smile to your face while also highlighting the small relative cost of making a client, friend, co-worker or family member feel good by sending a personalized Christmas card or business Christmas card.

As we all know from the classic story by Dr. Seuss, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, Mr. Grinch was a mean one. The beautiful end of the story has all of Whoville in smiles and Mr. Grinch “making up” with “Little Cindy Lou Who”, thus our inspiration for this blog entry.

Cup of hot chocolate to share with little Cindy Lou Who, $1.25
ATM fee for the Grinch to get money to buy food for his faithful dog Max, $1.50
Christmas tree bulb for the Whoville town tree, $0.89

Personalized Christmas Card from Mr. Grinch to all Whoville residents wishing them a Merry Christmas, priceless!

Christmas vs. Season’s Greetings

When I set about to order my Christmas cards, I became aware that in the past, being politically correct was not an issue that affected me. I reviewed some of the cards that I received in previous years and, lo and behold, most of them wished me a Merry Christmas!

The more I think about it, the more I am starting to doubt the “correctness” of avoiding the Merry Christmas phrase. After all, do the recipients of these cards not know that the season in Season’s Greetings includes Christmas?

In my opinion, anyone who thinks about me and takes the time to contact me is obviously not trying to offend me. On the other hand, if I am aware that a friend or contact is sensitive to this issue, I will act accordingly. I think that we should take the recipients of our cards into consideration, and then choose a card that pleases us as well as it would please them. It is a well known observation that when choosing a gift, one should choose something that they would really like to keep for themselves!

Should we no longer send Season’s Greetings cards altogether? Of course not; but let’s not make using “Merry Christmas” a thing of the past either.

Etiquette When Signing Christmas Cards

When signing a Christmas or holiday greeting card, when does one use the word “love” in the signature area? Naturally, during the holidays there is a lot of love going around, gifts being given, elbows being bent. But how does the card-giver make sure there are no feathers ruffled by the way they sign their cards?

When sending personal Christmas cards to family members, longtime friends or coworkers who you are close to, it is perfectly sensible to sign using the word “love”. Doing so is in keeping with the feeling of being close to others and the sentimentality that comes with that time of year. However, when writing the obligatory cards to, let’s say, a boss or coworker, using “love” would be inappropriate to say the least.

So what does one do? Well, let’s put it this way… as you write the word, if you feel great about what you are writing and you know there will be a smile on the face of the recipient, then, by all means, go for it. If, however, there are any stomach pangs, second thoughts or, perhaps, that nervous sensation deep down in the stomach, don’t do it! It is better to be politically correct and not have to worry about having done the wrong thing than it is to try to repair any sensitive egos or hurt feelings once the cold winds of January are blowing.

Religious Christmas Cards Celebrate the Reason for the Season

The day and the season are called Christmas for a reason. I like to acknowledge and celebrate the reason for the season. That’s why I choose to send religious Christmas cards. They allow me to express the joy and peace I feel for this glorious occasion, and to spread and share these feelings with others. It’s a choice that helps me to stay centered during a hectic time of year.

Often I will choose a nativity scene; there are so many beautiful versions from which to choose. Certainly I have used prints of famous paintings, but sometimes I’ve been drawn by the simplicity of more modern representational art.

Some years, as I recall in 2001, I felt an urgency to let a white dove represent my deeply felt beliefs. I’ve found a couple of other ways to express both my religious beliefs and my hopes for peace on this earth. One year I sent a whole wreath of doves, and last year I sent a lovely Christmas tree that was decorated with doves. I also enjoy using religious Christmas cards that picture angels. It’s my little way of sending the reminder that “angels are among us.”

Although I’m not trying to tell others what beliefs they should hold or how they should worship, it’s important to me to express my faith in my daily life. One way for me to do that at Christmas is to choose religious cards celebrating the birth of Christ and wishing peace to everyone.

Regarding Personal Christmas Cards…

I finally ventured out of the nest and got an apartment with some friends for the first time when I was twenty-two. That first Christmas, my parents would open their personal Christmas cards and find them addressed to each member of our family – including me.

“Maybe I should send my own card to…” I squinted at the name scrawled at the bottom of the card. “Aunt Muffy.” I borrowed my mother’s address book and looked for family and friends I knew, because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who Aunt Muffy was and how we were related to her. Nonetheless, I thought it was good etiquette to let them know I had gotten a place of my own and that any correspondence for me should be sent directly my way.

The next day, I started writing out my cards. For the first time, I got to pick the design I most liked, the greeting I most related to, and I even got to break in my brand new address labels. It was a full three weeks before Christmas, so I thought I was ahead of the game. This independence, out on my own stuff wasn’t so bad!

I sent out approximately twenty-five cards that first year. Half had already sent a card with my name to my mother. Another few sent a card to my address. “We didn’t know you moved out! Good luck!” Unfortunately, a few came back marked “Return to Sender”. Aunt Muffy didn’t know how we were related either, apparently.

The next year, I picked a new card, a new greeting, and new address labels. I also decided to get an envelope imprint, having settled comfortably into my first apartment by this point. A week went by, then another. I was beginning to wonder if I’d forgotten to put stamps on the envelopes when my mother called me.

“We got some Christmas cards today. Your name is on all of them.”

The same people who’d wished me luck on my venturing out of the nest last year had already forgotten I’d ventured at all. There was my name, right next to my brother’s, in the family card. No personal Christmas card for me!

As time has passed, my Christmas card list has changed. I’m not so worried about those family members who will always see me as my parents’ daughter. I have a new group of people to send to: friends and colleagues. And just think – someday, I’ll forget to send their kids their own card when they move out, too!

Christmas Cards Make Happy Memories

I remember when I was a child waiting every day for the arrival of the mailman. Those were the days of stay at home moms and daily routines. No season was as highly anticipated by me as the Christmas holiday season.

Practically every day there would be mail that my mom would allow me to open. Each Christmas card was a treasure to me. I would get to see Santa, Christmas trees (decorated or as seen in the forest), Christmas bells and ornaments, and dozens of variations on the theme.

After we put the cards on the mantle or strung them as garlands, my job was to put the stamp on the envelopes of the cards my mom had prepared and addressed.

Now that it is my responsibility to carry on the tradition, I realize what a loving chore it is to spread the joy of the season to friends and family. The impact that many of the small things we do in life has on others, is often unknown to us. I am sure the people who sent us cards could not have known the life-long happy memory they created for me.

When the hustle and bustle of Christmas seems overwhelming, and sending cards starts to become just another thing that must be done before Christmas arrives, I take a deep breath and picture the people who will be receiving the cards. If only half of them feel even just a little bit happier by my gesture, I know that it is well worth the effort.