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.

When Sending Christmas Cards, Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Sometimes I really love this expression and other times I just hate it. I love it when it helps me to see the wisdom in sitting down, forgetting the daily grind for a moment and gazing out into the future in a productive way. I hate it when I realize after the fact that yes, I took the time to gaze out into the future but I didn’t follow through and I didn’t plan to make the vision happen. I hate that feeling of unknowingly planning to fail.

So what in the world does this have to do with Corporate Christmas Cards and Business Holiday Cards? Well, actually it has a lot to do with them. To send a holiday card or a gift takes a little preparation and a little foresight. It takes a bit of planning and barring this planning, well…in today’s world you can still be successful is what we are unfortunately being trained to think. We can do everything and anything at the last minute it seems nowadays…Or can we…?

Yes, actually, we can do a lot at the very last minute, but the effort suffers. The joy, thought, and emotion are diminished and worse yet we are training ourselves to flirt with failure. In fact leaving things to the last minute is planning to fail. We do often pull it off in the last minute, skirting failure, but it’s simply just unhealthy and it’s certainly no way to run a business.

So, if we do pull it off and order our Holiday cards at the last minute are we worse for wear? Have we succeeded without flaw, impact, or damage to ourselves or our firm’s reputation? Sadly, the answer is no. Real damage is done. Failing to plan ahead and purchase your Corporate Christmas cards and Business Holiday cards can result in real damage to you and your company.

We order from our competitors every year. We see the problems with quality, shipping, timelines, and customer service. At The Gallery Collection by Prudent Publishing we don’t operate that way. We produce all of our cards 100% in the United States. Our designs are all exclusive works completed by our artisans and available only from us. Our paper stocks are thick and rich, not flimsy and curling. And we fulfill our promise to do a good job imprinting your cards and sending them on time.

Well shucks! I told myself I was going to try and write something that didn’t sound like an advertisement. It’s hard! Our product is so nice. We try so hard. We beg customers to order early so that they can be prepared so that they can plan to succeed and succeed as planned instead of flirting with last minute harried preparations and failure.

I guess I should just wrap-up. Please plan ahead. Please don’t plan to fail. Please order your Christmas cards soon. We want to do a quality job of imprinting and personalizing your cards with your company name. We want for you to take this opportunity to thank your customers with a simple, thoughtful, and low cost option. You really don’t need to torture them with another inedible fruit cake or fatten’em up with more chocolate and candy.

Maybe I’ll write a bit more later on some of the problems we have seen over the years with competitors, service, quality, and their high prices and fake discounts?

Until then…

Holiday Cards for Your Business

What’s the proper etiquette for sending out Holiday Cards? Choosing Holiday Cards for your business shouldn’t be a nightmare, and you can take several precautions to make sure it doesn’t turn into one. Get yourself organized ahead of time. Determine exactly how many cards you need and order a few extras so you don’t find yourself short, or worse, not being able to send cards to all your business associates.

In deciding how to personalize your greeting cards, try to remember the point of sending them in the first place…you want people to realize you thought of them during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The last thing you want to do is offend anyone so stick with a design or scene that is generic rather than specific. Here’s something important to keep in mind – some of your customers and clients may celebrate Christmas; others may celebrate Chanukah or Kwanzaa; and some may believe the season is all about Santa Claus and gifts. “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” applies to all rather than choosing a card that reads “Merry Christmas.”

Try to keep the personalization on your Business Christmas Cards simple and basic. A message of one or two lines should be sufficient…most people are too distracted to read a long-winded card around the holiday season. If you don’t have a ton of recipients to send cards to, it would be a nice touch to add a personal note in addition to your imprinted message. But more times than not, this is not realistic. Let’s face it, we’re all a bit short on time especially around the holidays. So consider having your signature imprinted inside your cards. This extra touch will surely impress your customers or clients.

Lastly, try to have them all ready to go in the mail no later than the first week of December to beat the rush (the post office will thank you!) but more importantly your recipients will be impressed by your attention to detail, great organizational skills, and warm holiday wishes.

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.

Holiday Card Aspirations

My friend Lisa is a fine arts student who dreams of becoming a Holiday card designer. I have been trying to find a way to help her use her skills, or maybe just learn how to get some recognition for her designs which could help her get a job after college. So when I heard of the Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship contest, I was really excited to tell her.

Lisa’s driving force is the support she receives from her family, friends, and professors, and she couldn’t wait to get started on her entry for the scholarship. Lisa designed a beautiful card depicting a Christmas inspired living room with a Christmas tree and stockings and greeting cards hanging from the mantle. It was a true work of art, and she told me that she felt like an actual artist and not just a student doing another assignment.

For Lisa, creating an entry for the scholarship contest validated her aspiration of becoming a greeting card designer. She submitted her design and now she just has to wait to see if her Christmas card is chosen as the winner of the $10,000 scholarship prize, which would help tremendously in paying for her college tuition. After all – it isn’t everyday that you find out about a scholarship such as this one.

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.

Thanksgiving Greeting Cards begin the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is a great time of year for my family. We have traditions that have lasted for as long as my sister and I can remember. When we think of the Thanksgiving season, we think of football, pumpkin picking, apple pie, the start of Christmas shopping, and Christmas card writing.

For many, this can also be a very hectic time of year with the preparation for Thanksgiving Day. Creating the guest list and the menu, preparing festive decorations for the home and for the dinner table, along with the actual cooking and baking for dinner can take hours out of the week. With all the hustle and bustle of getting my Thanksgiving dinner just right, the thought of sending or receiving Business Thanksgiving cards never even crossed my mind.

In the midst of last year’s holiday chaos, I received my first Thanksgiving card from the gym where I workout. I was shocked to receive a business greeting card from my gym, but very pleased nonetheless. I had only been working out there for a few months, so it was a nice gesture to send me a personalized Thanksgiving card. I remember thinking, “What a great idea!” Companies that send corporate greeting cards show their customers that they really do care and that their clients are more than just dollar signs. The fact that they sent it during the Thanksgiving season reminded me just what that day is all about – giving thanks.

Cup of coffee or a business Christmas Card?

Would you buy a good customer a cup of coffee?
>Of course you would!

Should you thank your customers for their business?
>Of course you should!

Sending customers business Christmas cards thanking them for their business is just common sense and costs less than a cup of coffee! Smart businesses send cards to their customers. Even smarter businesses send cards to their customers and their prospective customers.

Aren’t YOUR customers your competitors’ prospective customers?

If you aren’t sending your customers business Christmas cards, no worries…your competitors will wish them well for you. Don’t find yourself saying “shoulda. coulda. woulda.”

“Normal” Cup of Coffee – $1.25
Starbuck’s Cafe Grande – $3.75
Look on your competitor’s face when THEIR customers mention how nice you are for sending a business Christmas cardpriceless

Christmas Card History

As we try to do every night, my family sat down for dinner at around 6:30 yesterday evening. After making sure everyone had their drinks, straws, butter, salt, napkins, and steak sauce, we finally began eating. As we also try to do every night, we all talked about how our days went. In the course of conversation, someone mentioned Christmas cards and my daughter very innocently asked, “Who ever thought of sending Christmas cards anyway?”

Being as inquisitive as my daughter can be (and wanting to give the right answer), I thought this would be a great learning opportunity for both of us. So after dinner, conveniently leaving my husband to do the dishes, we hopped on our PC to find out the origin of Christmas Cards. Here’s some of what we found out:

– Artist John Calcott Horsley, a London native, designed the first Christmas card in 1843 for businessman Henry Cole. It depicted a picture of a family enjoying Christmas.

– Seeing Mickey Mouse on your Greeting cards was quite common in the 1930s when animated short films rose in popularity. (My daughter loves Mickey and found this one to be the most amusing.)

– Louis Prang, having perfected lithography, introduced the first line of Christmas cards to America.

– Prior to 1840, Christmas cards were hand delivered. That all changed with the introduction of the postage stamp, bringing greeting cards to the masses.

– Holiday greeting cards account for over 60 percent of all greeting card sales.

Corporate Holiday cards really took off in the past few decades as a convenient way to remember those that have contributed to a company’s success.

By the time we got to the last few facts, my daughter had already moved on to the next activity but we certainly learned a lot that night.

Christmas Gift Buying – How To Be Unique Without the Stress

It’s that time again…to start wondering how I will wish my friends and family a Merry Christmas this year. I already began brainstorming a list of people that I’d like to buy a gift for. It always seems that this list gets bigger and bigger each year. This year’s list is already up to 30 people, but I guess that’s what happens when you have a close knit family.

It can be difficult and stressful having to buy Christmas gifts for so many people. This is especially true for me as I have been known to give very unique gifts. In a way, I think this has put me at a disadvantage because my family and friends now have very high expectations for my Christmas gifts. Two years ago, I thought I sensed some disappointment from my brother after I gave him a gift card to his favorite store. It’s almost as if he expected more from me.

So instead of putting pressure on myself to constantly come up with unique Christmas gift ideas, I created a solution. I now distribute a Christmas photo card to every person I give a gift to. I usually include a comical photo of myself dressed up as Santa, or posing next to a snowman. In addition to this, I always include a little note on the inside remembering a special or funny moment that I shared with that person throughout the year.

I have found that people are so touched by these Personalized Holiday cards that they no longer expect such a unique gift from me. In turn, this has caused me less stress when buying throughout the holiday season. Given my new found secret, I think I am going to make it easy on myself this year…I’m going to get 30 gift cards!