There was a time when I was a freak about sending holiday greetings. In the mid-1990s I loaded Microsoft Publisher onto my computer and started an annual 4-page folded newsletter called Bells and Whistles. It was filled with photos and stories of the year at the Titgemeyer household. It took days to create and hours to print. This sounds terrible, but it is true—by 2007 I used to get requests from people I didn’t know as well yet to get on this newsletter list because they’d heard about it from another friend or family member and wanted to see one for themselves.
During those years, I was also in charge of my office holiday card campaign and each year tried to come up with something unique and memorable, choosing great photos or artwork to send cheer.
One year (2008, just after the recession began), using an economy theme, for our office cards I gathered up 10 years of unused leftover cards which were in a box at the bottom of my desk and enclosed a note indicating that we were trying to be less wasteful and that the recipients should enjoy the card, again. You wouldn’t believe the positive response. The feedback was that it was appropriate and clever.
Anyone who is responsible for holiday cards knows how much work it is to get them out. The signing, the notes, the envelope stuffing, finding a matching stamp, getting them in the mail.
In the mail. . .
While I sent out Christmas cards to friends and immediate family this year, I chose not to send office cards this year. Not by mail. Not by e-mail. And this is despite the fact that in terms of my mood, I’m at an all-time high of holiday cheer.
Here’s an interesting statistic. This year only 7 business associates sent me cards. 27 business associates sent e-mail cards. I received 4 greeting calls. To those who sent me greetings I replied by the method they were sent and tried to include as much of a note as possible.
While somewhat unfulfilling, it actually took about 10% of the time to respond this way. I actually liked the greeting calls the best, perhaps because they took the most time.
I feel no sadness or hostility toward those who opted out and hope others feel the same way about our choice.
I think holiday greetings have died a sad and terrible death. Let’s call it death by mechanics.
To my friends, colleagues, business associates and cardbots I say this. . .unless we truly want to connect personally, unless we truly want to invest in the experience of opening something unique, next year, let’s call the whole thing off. I won’t be sad about that and neither will you. The world of e-mail cards and mailing labels generated out of Salesforce really spoils the mood. Go get a small box of Hallmark cards and send them to only those you really care about.
I feel the same way about networking. In 2015, let’s work on it being more personal.