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!

Eco-friendly Greeting Cards Produced with Windpower

When you hear the word “windmills” you might think of farms grinding grain, or if you’re a literary type, maybe the adventures of Don Quixote of La Mancha and his attack on the windmills enters your mind. But chances are, the environmental movement doesn’t immediately occur to you.

Advanced forms of windmills are helping us tread a little lighter on the planet. Large wind turbines built in open, breezy locations capture the wind and convert it into mechanical energy, electricity being the most common form. By harnessing wind power, businesses and residents can generate clean energy without utilizing fossil fuels that are harmful to the environment. Since I am an eco-conscious individual, I can certainly appreciate the benefits provided in this practice.

Windpower not only creates renewable energy to light homes and offices, it also produces power for machinery in manufacturing processes such as paper production. The Gallery Collection takes advantage of this fast-growing and environmentally responsible method to produce the majority of our greeting cards.

Check out our large selection of Windpower Cards, whose paper stock was produced with wind-powered energy. I think it’s pretty amazing that windpower is a contributing factor in creating such exquisite, environmentally friendly greeting cards…and in fact, the card I chose for my personal Christmas cards this year came from this selection! But if the card design you choose happens to not be one of our windpower cards, you can still feel good about your purchase since all of our envelopes are now produced using wind-powered energy.

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.

Business Christmas Cards from a Customer’s Point of View

Does anything get you in the Holiday Spirit more then receiving a holiday card from a business that you are a frequent customer of? Think about it. In the midst of all the holiday cards that you expect from your friends and family, isn’t it a nice surprise to receive a Business Christmas Card just for being a good customer? Every Christmas, the deli down the street sends out Christmas cards to their best customers. Now, this is just a small local deli, however, that makes their gesture even more special because I know they must be on a limited budget, and they consider their customers worth spending extra money on. Every year, when I open up my Christmas card from that local deli, it’s a nice reminder that they appreciate my business.

There are all kinds of large corporations where every customer is nothing but a number. Businesses can spend so much money trying to generate new customers that the current customers can get lost in the fray. I think I speak for most people when I say that as a loyal customer, it’s nice to be rewarded every once in a while. It gives extra incentive just to re-enter a store. In some stores, I’m forgotten the second I walk out their door. Business Christmas cards can help to eliminate that feeling. Those holiday cards from the deli make me feel like if I stop going there, they’ll notice and I’ll be missed as a customer. Business Christmas Cards can make you feel like more then just a profit. And really, who are you more likely to give your business to: a company that forgets you as soon as you walk out the door, or a company that takes the time to keep your information and makes an effort to keep in contact with you?

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.

“Go Green” with Recycled Cards

I’m a recycling nut…there, I said it. Look at my curb on recycling day and you’ll see mounds of bags filled with newspapers and other paper scraps and barrels full of empty plastic and glass bottles. Throw a soda can out in the garbage? No way. Recycling just makes sense to me. Why add something to our already overwhelming landfills when it can be taken to a recycling facility and transformed into something else?

In addition to recycling whatever I can, I like to purchase items that are made from reclaimed materials, which are more readily available than you may think. For example, instead of buying cards produced with virgin pulp, I opt for recycled greeting cards. Some people think that using recycled content for paper decreases the quality, strength and aesthetic value of the paper; however, with advancements in technology and processes just the opposite is true. Recycled papers are available in a wide variety of colors and weights, and can produce a beautiful, elegant card.

There are many ways to be environmentally conscious. Some are complicated and costly but others, like buying recycled paper cards, are easy and affordable. By sending a recycled card for your annual Christmas card mailing, you’ll show your recipients that you care about the environment (and maybe in the process you’ll convert some of them into being more eco-friendly!)

And to take it a step further…in addition to buying recycled cards to send to friends and family, think twice before throwing out the cards you receive… recycle those cards by using them in greeting card crafts projects. Yet another way to be friendly to the planet!

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.

Photo Christmas Card Picture-Taking Lesson

For several years I would take a deep breath and try to prepare myself for our annual stress fest of Christmas Photo Card picture-taking day. Yes, this is the day when I gather, cajole, bribe and do whatever else it takes to get my two little twins primped and primed for taking their annual Christmas card photo.

After breaking a sweat getting my daughter into her dress and her too tight tights and begging my son not to rip off his sweater vest and snowman shirt, I then comb his messed up hair for the tenth time. Finally, we are ready to get down to business. With camera in hand, I begin to take pictures. Thank goodness for the invention of digital cameras is all I can say. Just a few years ago we would rip through one to two rolls of film of nothing but one eye closed shots, contorted faces, tears or some other gooey, wet substance dripping down someone’s face and endless photos of one or both of them getting up and trying to grab the camera from my tense little sock puppet hands.

Fortunately, the worst of those days are gone. I’ve learned to relax and laugh through it over the last couple of years. Now I make my husband dance like an elf in the background so I don’t have to be both photographer and court jester. That, along with the fact that they are not gooey, sticky-handed toddlers ready to take off after the cat as she prances by casting one of her “thank goodness I am not human” looks, has made things a lot easier.

Last year I was thrilled to get a great shot of the two of them after only 156 tries. “Victory at last!” I thought. My husband came home all smiles with the newly developed photos. He was as pleased as I was with the shot of our adorable twosome in Santa hats. As I went to place the pictures on my photo cards, a feeling of dread started to come over me. I virtually always take horizontal shots but for some reason, I had taken this particular one vertically. Of course, the Christmas card I had chosen was designed only for a horizontal photo. Back out came the holiday outfits, Christmas music playing in November, etc., all ready for a second round of our not so annual Christmas photo cards picture taking event. Oh well, live and learn.