The holiday season is here. It’s the time of year that kids like and turkeys dread the most. It’s the time for snow, fireplaces, and dinner tables too small to hold all the food. It’s the time for families and friends to get together, the time for love and joy and happiness. The time when millions of holiday greeting cards are flying around on their way to let people know they are appreciated. It’s the most special time of the year. But some people don’t live in a climate where it snows. Some people don’t like to eat turkey or meat in general. Believe it or not, some are real-life Grinches, and some like the holidays but are not too keen on the traditions around them. Because the holiday season can get crazy and hectic, some people don’t send their holiday greeting cards in time. And while we can’t help people move to another climate or help instill the holiday spirit in them, we can help those who either forgot or didn’t want to send out greeting cards.
But First – The Golden Rule of Holiday Greetings
In a country that’s as culturally and religiously diverse as the United States, the roughly month-long holiday season contains a lot of holidays celebrated by people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thanksgiving and the New Year are secular holidays. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage. Hanukkah is a Jewish religious holiday. Christmas is a Christian religious holiday.
That is why when mass-sending greetings you should always wish people happy holidays in general and not a particular holiday. That’s the golden rule of holiday greetings – when in doubt, go with “happy holidays.” And if there is a particular holiday for which you want to send a greeting, use an appropriate term. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, or Habari Gani (for Kwanzaa).
Let’s Email the Greetings!
Emails should be your first choice of holiday greetings if you skip the traditional card. They can be simple or elaborate, intimate or professional, tailor-made or mass produced. Because they are so versatile, you should always keep in mind your audience and craft emails accordingly.
For example, if you want to send email greetings to your business partners, you should either make a very nice looking customized ecard or write a message following all the standards of business correspondence. Reflect on how much they’ve meant to your business during this year and express your hope that the cooperation will continue in the next. Don’t write a whole letter; a couple of sentences will do just fine. Send each email individually.
For friends and family, you can get a bit more creative. If you have a friend who’s really eco-conscious, you can put “no trees were harmed in the making of this holiday greeting” as the subject. You can send emails with tailor-made messages to groups of people like family, college friends, and friends from the gym.
The important thing to remember with emails is timing. If you’re sending out a greeting for the whole holiday season, you should do it on or before the first holiday of the season, probably Thanksgiving. That way you’ll know you’ve covered all your corners. If, on the other hand, you’re sending greetings for specific holidays, remember that it’s always better to be early than to be late. So either a day before the holiday or the day of the holiday will work well. For the New Year, it’s better to send the greeting a day or two late than a day or two early, unless you’re sending a combo Christmas and New Year greeting. In that case, send it before Christmas.
Let’s Make a Video Greeting!
So you didn’t send out greeting cards, big deal! You can do one better – create a video greeting so that people can see you wishing them happy holidays. If politicians and corporations can do it, why can’t you?
The only limit to what you can do with a video greeting card is your own creativity and skill. People who are skilled with animation and editing can make great video greeting cards. If you’re not one of them, using your smartphone or webcam to record footage of you saying a holiday message will have to suffice.
As always, you should keep in mind that different audiences require different messages. If you’re making a video greeting card for business partners, you should do it the way politicians do it – steady camera, a dignified background with some festive elements, and a clear message about how you appreciate them and wish them all the best. The footage of you skiing, snowboarding, or dressing up as Santa’s elf is something you should reserve for friends and family.
Let’s Make a Quiz or Other Interactive Greeting!
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a staggering amount of things even a novice can create on the internet. Ever thought about creating a quiz? Or a jigsaw puzzle? Or a crossword puzzle? Well, now’s the time to do it. You can make a quiz with questions about your year, for example, and send it to friends to see which ones will pass. You can upload a picture of yourself holding a “Happy Holidays, Mom” sign, make it into an online puzzle and send it to your mom. You can do a custom crossword puzzle for your dad, your boss, or anyone you know who likes doing crossword puzzles. There are tons of options out there to create an off-the-beaten-path holiday greeting, and you should fully explore them.
Let’s Mass Text, Because There’s No Time for Anything Else!
Mass texts are usually the last resort for holiday greetings, although they might be your first choice if you want to wish a happy New Year to a large number of people exactly at midnight on December 31st.
Text messages, let’s face it, aren’t the most formal method of communication. And since it is mass texting, there’s no way to address people properly, so you want something you wouldn’t mind your boss, grandmother, and lover seeing. It might sound impossible, but that’s how those tacky texts that go around people’s phones this time of year were invented. They are perfect because they are neutral and there’s very little that’s personal in them. They have the “wish you well” part, and they mention the holidays, and that’s all they need to sort of work.
What you can do is avoid going online to look for one of those messages or wait to receive one and then pass it along. They are simple to write – just wish something and mention the holidays. Like “Wishing you the warmest and brightest holidays” or “May your next year be full of joy and success. Happy Holidays.” It’s not Shakespeare. But then again, nothing is, except Shakespeare. So there’s no need to overthink it.