Should you send holiday or Christmas cards to friends and family?
Christmas cards are an old tradition and are no longer expected, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t appreciated. Most people love receiving mail that’s not a credit card bill. If it’s a boss or a client, a card or sincere and professional email is a nice touch.
However, these days it’s totally acceptable to send friends and family an email with well wishes and a happy Kodak moment or two.
What if you receive a holiday card from someone you didn’t send one to?
If you receive a holiday card from someone and have not sent them a card in return, call them up and tell them how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness. Card-senders often aren’t looking for a card in return as much as they are looking for acknowledgement that the people they send to appreciate their effort.
But if you’d like to send a note in return, you have two options.
Respond with a card or letter within a reasonable time. (A week? Two weeks at most.) Don’t feel awkward about the situation, and you shouldn’t allow your response to reflect any awkwardness. Apologize if an apology is needed; don’t if it’s not. Etiquette is always about thinking of the comfort and feelings of others. So, when you write your response, give compliments about the card you were sent, comment cheerfully about the news you were given, inquire about the holiday if it has passed, offer news of your own. Always think about what you like about the person while writing your letter.
Alternatively, send a New Year’s card in January. You should have received all of your holiday cards by then, which means you have return addresses and a list of people you know appreciate a card in the mail. You avoid any issues of religion. You can write the cards when you are less busy during the first week of January. And, it will be a nice surprise to friends and family who dread getting the post-holiday credit card bill.
What if you want to send season’s greetings but don’t want to bother with cards?
If you have the time and inclination, bake a batch of sugar cookies or another seasonal treat. Wrap a stack of four or five in cellophane and tie with a bow. Offer the cookies to people you see on a regular basis without expectation of receiving anything in response, except for delightful gasps and the sounds of pleasurable chewing.
A phone call is a great way to reconnect and catch up during the ever-nostalgic season. Don’t underestimate the simplicity of just saying hello.