It’s getting to be that time of the year. Invitations to holiday parties are rolling in. My family are deliberating between Christmas cake and Christmas pudding so I can begin chopping and soaking fruit. I’m trying to remember which of my grandmother’s springerle recipes works best in the Australian climate. The content marketing contingent has started the insufferable debate about holiday cards.

Green façade
You know the drill, right? The deliberation about whether it’s better for the environment to send eCards at Christmas is getting as old as St. Nick himself. I’ve written before about business playing the green card in a veiled effort to reduce their own expenditures of time and money. I can’t help but feel this is exactly the same situation.

‘Tis the season
The holidays are meant to be a time to slow down, enjoy a few extravagances and reflect on what’s important in life. Whether you observe a faith-based celebration, follow a cultural tradition or just cash in on the abundance of public holidays, most of us survive the festive season with at least a faint recharging of the batteries. We socialise more, correspond more, eat and drink more than usual. We labour over elaborate food, search for the perfect gift and plan special gatherings. So why, for Pete’s sake, would content marketers try to shirk out of a prime opportunity to impress?

The Scrooge Effect
Here’s what I think; it’s just easier and cheaper to send an eCard. Few people will mention this because they don’t want to admit that’s the motive. By adopting the Scrooge attitude, you’re missing a perfect chance to connect with your best customers. Believe me, no one gets a warm, fuzzy feeling when faced with a mail merge effort. What’s the point of spending all year crafting content designed to pull people in then give them a big brush off with an eCard?

You want to pull them in? Then make an effort.
Hire a graphic designer and have custom-designed holiday cards made. Have them press printed on expensive stock. (Remember, print is not dead.) Do it now so you have plenty of time to write a personal note, by hand, in each one. Address the envelope by hand, too. Lick the stamp. (I’m not kidding. Do not use a franking machine at Christmas.) Take them to the post office yourself. I recommend starting a little ritual to celebrate the end of your holiday card project – toast your success with a coffee or a drink and reflect on your content marketing prowess.

Swamped for the holidays
Okay, so maybe you’re truly too busy or your designer is booked out until the end of the year. Send New Year’s cards instead. I did it last year and was surprised at how much traction I got from the exercise. (That’s an image of my card at the top of this story.) Holiday cards tend to get binned shortly after Boxing Day. I was delighted to visit a client’s office in July this year and see my New Year’s card prominently displayed. You can’t tell me an eCard could ever have that sort of reach.

Get busy
I encourage you to splash out this year. Toss your inner Scrooge to the side and lavish a little attention on every client with a personalised, handwritten greeting card. Consider the staying power of the printed card in comparison to the glut of eCards routinely filling inboxes at the end of every year. Reflect on how easy it is to push the delete button on electronic correspondence. Remember the little thrill you get when you find a ‘real’ card in your post box. You’re making an effort everywhere else, make sure you do the same with your seasonal content marketing.

What do you think about holiday cards?

Image credit: Card design by the talented Adrianne Barba at bird.STUDIOS