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Business Christmas card etiquette

A guide to business Christmas card etiquette: the do's and don'ts for sending corporate holiday greetings.


What should I write in a business Christmas card?

Writing a Christmas card can be surprisingly difficult, as you try and strike that balance of what is and isn't worth mentioning in the small amount of space you have to work with. Greetings cards have less space to work with than a direct mail full letter, so you want to make sure that you pack a lot of meaning into your message.

This can be even harder when deciding what to write in a business Christmas card and working out what the best Christmas card etiquette is. Here are a few things to make sure you try and include in your business Christmas cards this year.

Well wishes for the holiday season and the year ahead

This one may seem obvious, but sometimes people can skip the seasonal pleasantries and start focusing the messaging on their working relationship straight away. If this is where you open your message, it can seem like you are using Christmas as an excuse to talk business, which might not resonate well. Even in a short message you should have time to organically weave this stuff in, if at all (we'll come onto this). But, for starters, extending well-wishes to them and their family for a happy and healthy holiday and year ahead.

Something personal

Greetings cards only really mean something if it's clear some thought and effort has gone into it. A generic message that could have gone to anyone isn't gonna put a smile on anyone's face, so adding some detail specific to each recipient will show that you're really thinking about them and it isn't a generic mass-mailer. Try:

  • calling back to the last time the two of you spoke in person
  • including a detail about a specific conversation you've had - even an inside joke
  • referencing members of their wider family or community, demonstrating a wider personal knowledge

This of course won't be possible for every one of your recipients, but if you can, it can really make an impact.

Talk about the last year or so

As much as we all want to forget it, Covid has dominated the last couple of years and heavily impacted both working and personal relationships. A Christmas card expressing your gratitude for continued custom in a busy period or personal support in a tough time for everyone is sure to be well received. Here are a few ideas:

  • 'Thanks for sticking with us over this last year - we know it's been a difficult year for everyone.'
  • 'I'm so grateful for all your efforts over the last year - it hasn't gone unnoticed how hard you've been working.'
  • 'Wishing you a happy, healthy and Covid free new year!'

Who should I send a business Christmas card to?

This question really depends on your line of work, but there's no limit to who your potential recipients could be. Business Christmas card etiquette makes no real stipulations about who you should exclude, so as long as you have their address handy, you can send to anyone you like! This could include:

Customers or Clients

This is the obvious one, and who you're most likely to be thinking about sending to. Customers and clients often don't expect businesses to go the extra mile and reach out independent of a sale, or a deal. Unexpected surprises can really help solidify a positive of impression of you or your business, so it's definitely worth it.

Employees or Colleagues

Christmas can be a particularly busy time for a lot of businesses, so thanking members of your team for their dedication and hard work over this period is a good way of showing that you care. Extend your well wishes to their family too - if you can show any personal knowledge of their family, it makes a great extra personal touch.

Anyone else!

A lot of companies will work with external parties for certain areas of their business. Whilst they may not be permanent staff members, they're still a valuable cog in your mechanism, and deserve thanks alongside your core team. Whether it's accountants, contacts at your 3PL or anyone who touches your business, thank them for what they do and send them seasonal greetings.

When is best to send my business holiday cards?

It's important to remember that mail and shipping can take a lot longer than usual over the holiday season, as providers are inundated with Christmas cards and gifts.

This means you need to make sure you leave plenty of time to collate your data, designs and copy for your Christmas card mailers. Thankfully, postal services often provide a guide on the last dates to get your mail out so it'll arrive in time for Christmas.

What are the mistakes to avoid with Christmas greetings cards?

When you're learning what to write in a business Christmas card, it's also important to learn what NOT to do, or what you should make sure you don't forget to include. Some of these are really easy wins that will hugely elevate the impact of your Christmas card campaign, so take note!

Get them out before the dates above

We've just covered it above, but it really is important to get your mailers out in good time. If your recipients receive their cards after Christmas, they won't have the same impact, and it can come across as a lack of effort on your part. Stick to the above dates and you should be fine.

Lack of personalization

Generic mass mailers can be effective in some cases, but Christmas cards are personal, and the more tailored you can make them the better. Adding in specific details about the recipient will show time and effort has gone into your message.

Handwritten notes can amplify this effect even more, showing more time and effort has gone into your message. If you're interested in sending handwritten Christmas cards at scale, check out Scribeless' business Christmas card options here.

Scribeless also allows you to use custom merge fields in your mailers, which means you can add a ton of personalization to the same campaign. For a comprehensive guide on how to maximize the customization in a Scribeless campaign, you can check out our custom fields guide here.

Being overly formal

It's worth remembering that you are sending to real people. and engaging them as such is important. A lot of people see the holidays as a break from busy work lives, so being too formal and talking too much about work is a no-go. It's fine to thank people for their custom or hard work, but it can also be tempting to use this as an excuse to market things to them, like Boxing Day and January sales.

Try to resist that temptation if possible - Christmas cards are primarily to boost your relationship on a human level, rather than ensnare some new purchases. Some struggle to decide how to sign off a business Christmas card, not knowing whether to strike a more formal or more informal tone, and the answer is overwhelmingly in favour of the latter.

For example, a letter signed off from 'The Fresh Skincare Co.' feels much less personal than one from 'Rachael and all the Fresh Skincare team.' The card representing individuals within your team helps solidify your relationship as one between people, rather than simply person to business. Little touches like this can seriously increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Overcommitting to 'Christmas'

Though Christmas is increasingly secularized and doesn't represent a religious event only, it is worth considering how many of your recipients won't celebrate Christmas. Sometimes, it's better to make your mailer more broadly themed. 'Season's Greetings', for example, covers all festivities over the holiday season, regardless of any religious participation.

This can also help if you are really up against it to get your mailer out for the final send dates - previously, Scribeless customers who were running low on time switched their Christmas mailers to generic holiday season ones, incorporating New Year wishes into the message too. This gives you a little more time and flexibility to get your mailer out.

If you have the data, it could also be worth segmenting your send, with Christmas, Hanukkah etc. cards for different recipients. Again, little touches like this can often be unexpected, so they really get noticed.

Get sending!

When it comes to deciding what to write in a business Christmas card, there are lots of things to consider, but a lot of it comes down to putting in thought. Being considerate, personalizing your cards and getting them there on time require you to put the work in in good time.

This come people reading this may be debating whether or not to send business Christmas cards this year, and our advice is go for it. Christmas is a time for family and friends, and making an important, personal connection at this time of year can do wonders for your business and personal relationships.