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.
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.
In a world increasingly overloaded with choices, decisions, offers, and in-your-face advertising, I’m more likely to conduct my business with people and companies that give me a good feeling, as well as a good deal. Business Christmas cards are a great example of a little thing going a long way in value, and not just where your wallet is concerned!
Competitive offers so often seem to be six-of-one and a-half-dozen of another. But, if one of those offers is always accessorized with a smile on the face and in the tone of voice, my choice is not random. I prefer to choose the “good attitude” in both my business and personal life.
When I receive a beautiful Christmas Holiday card from a business associate, it’s an example of his good attitude toward me, and it’s a pause in my day that makes me smile. So, I figure, when I send a business Christmas card to my business associates, I’m extending that same good attitude toward them. I hope I’m also prompting them to choose me over my competition every time they can use my services!
While we’re on the subject, it’s good to remember that co-workers and employees can make or break your whole performance. If you’re successful and happy in your work, you probably already greet these individuals with a smile, no matter how your personal day is going. Sending them a business Christmas card at holiday time is another one of those extra little gestures that means a lot to the relationships you have on the job.
It amazes me that some businesses will spend a small fortune on media ads, but then pinch pennies when it comes to small, personal and meaningful gestures that really get my attention. I’ve resolved to do better than that; my business Christmas card mailing list grows every year… and so does my business!
If you would have told me even ten years ago that I’d do most of my correspondence via my computer, I wouldn’t have believed you. First of all, as a sophomore in college, I hadn’t yet purchased my own computer (although I was spending plenty of time in the computer labs, working my way through this new-fangled thing called the Internet!). Secondly, I was a proud pen paller, writing friends all over the country and all over the world.
Suddenly, stationery and stamps went the way of horse and buggy. I was getting emails from my pen pal in Norway and instant messages from my best friend in Michigan. Flash forward a decade, and now I’m looking to increase my monthly text messaging plan on my phone. While I love all the things technology has resulted in, I’m not so crazy about the immediacy and disposability of these new and wide-used ways of communication.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still like the feel of an envelope in my hand and the sound of paper ripping as I open it to see what’s inside. I’m much more likely to remember a card you sent me – for any occasion – than one of a string of emails you sent me last week just to chat. Better yet, I can pull it out a month from now, a year from now, or even ten years for now to reminisce. Who saves their email that long? Who has the time to sift through an inbox?
When I was considering living on campus my first semester in college, my father gave me a greeting card. Not a man of many words, he’d picked a blank, all-purpose card and copied down lyrics to a song that conveyed how he was feeling. As he handed me the card, he gave me a hug and I could see tears in his eyes.
Try conveying that via an electronic message.