The tradition of sending greeting cards dates to the 1700's. An excellent opportunity to stay connected with those you do not see often enough, greeting cards also offer a thoughtful way to let others know you value them as friends, customers and business associates.
When selecting which card to send, it is important to remember that not everyone celebrates the holidays in the same way. There are very real differences that should be considered during the season as an appropriate greeting card, although sent under the best of intentions, can actually do more harm than good, especially in a business relationship. Here are some points of greeting card etiquette to consider.
Christmas Cards are perfect for friends and family when you know their religious affiliation and feel comfortable sending a greeting with a clear Christian message. Images depicting the Madonna and child or designs and sentiments that speak to Christian beliefs are lovely and clearly send a message that speaks to the birth of Christ. These recipients are certain to appreciate warm Christmas cards and religious greetings more than the generic "Season's Greetings." If you are at all unsure about an affiliation, consider a greeting less focused on the religious meaning of Christmas.
Holiday Cards are more non-denominational and come with sentiments such as "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" that can be enjoyed by all. Particularly in a business environment, it is much more acceptable to send a heartfelt wish for the season in holiday cards designed to acknowledge the season more so than a special event.
For example, Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate any holidays while Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1 by many African-Americans. Muslims celebrate two feasts holidays during November and December and Hindus celebrate Diwali during the winter months of October or November.
Holiday cards recognize all celebrations during the season without offending anyone's cultural or religious differences. This is especially significant in the world of international business where you will also want to consider the holiday schedules of your business partners as many take extended time off. A greeting card sent before their offices close for the holidays would be enjoyed and would set your card apart from those cards that stack up awaiting their return.
Thanksgiving Cards have become new alternatives to the seasonal holiday or Christmas cards. Enjoyed by all Americans, they can be a nice surprise, arriving in advance of the traditional holiday cards. Thanksgiving cards will also remain on display far longer.
No matter which greeting card you send, remember to make it of high quality and take the time to sign it in your own handwriting, even if they are personalized. Your thought gesture is certain to be returned in customer loyalty, strengthening business partnerships and connections with friends and family.