Update on December 27, 2011: For updated new year's greetings, see this post.
People are asking for advice for writing holiday greetings. To make your holiday messages easier to write and send, I am sharing this Better Writing at Work newsletter article, originally published last year. I hope you find it helpful.
Holiday Greetings Made Easy
When you are ready to send greetings to your customers, clients, employees, mentors, donors, vendors, service providers, and others who make you successful, apply these suggestions:
1. Saying Thank You.
If you have U.S. business associates, Thanksgiving, celebrated this year on November 26, is an ideal time to say thank you. But no matter where you and your customers live, it is good business sense to take every opportunity to thank the people who create your success.
2. Holiday Messages.
If you are stumped about what to write in a holiday greeting, use the short messages below as examples. Adapt them to suit your reader, your relationship, and your culture.
At this joyous time of year, we are grateful for our work with you. We wish you abundance, happiness, and peace in a new year filled with hope. Happy holidays!
I hope you and all your coworkers, family, and friends have a lovely holiday season filled with joy and meaning.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you this year. It has been an honor and a valuable experience for me. I wish you a happy Hanukkah and a new year filled with all good things.
It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with you this year. We wish you the best of holidays and a prosperous 2010!
As the year ends, we think about all we are grateful for. Our relationship with you is one thing we treasure. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. We wish you a merry Christmas and much success in the new year.
As gifts are given and received this holiday season, I think of the gift of knowing you. Thank you for the pleasure of working with you. Happy holidays!
Merry Christmas! I hope you have a holiday that fills your heart with joy!
3. Writing Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Why not use your readers' languages to communicate Christmas and New Year's greetings? For correct spellings of worldwide greetings, visit Omniglot. For some languages, Omniglot also provides pronunciations.
4. Happy New Year Messages.
For customers who do not celebrate Christmas, use a new year's message like one of these:
To a customer:
Thank you for your business this year. It has been a pleasure helping you reach your goals, and we look forward to contributing to your success in 2010. We wish you a prosperous and happy new year!
To a client or customer:
I wish you a wonderful new year filled with abundance, joy, and treasured moments. May 2010 be your best year yet!
To a patron or volunteer:
Happy new year! Thanks to supporters like you, 2009 was a very successful year for us. We were able to exceed our goals and expand our services to the needy because of the generosity and commitment of people like you. [You may provide details.] Thank you so much!
We wish you a new year filled with peace, joy, and meaning.
Happy New Year! Yes, we survived 2009. In fact, we thrived because of your amazing hard work, creativity, and dedication. I am personally grateful to you for your tremendous efforts, and I wish you a rewarding, joyous new year. I look forward to our work together in 2010.
5. Email vs. Handwritten.
Should you email holiday greetings? If email is the only way you communicate with your customers and employees--or if mailed greetings are too expensive--then email is your choice. But even with email, use each person's name. A bland message that says "Dear Employee" or "Dear Customer" might as well say "Dear Stranger."
If you have people's addresses and a budget to send greetings by mail, choose a tasteful card to send. Although tastes differ, think about your readers when you choose cards. For most business associates, cards with religious messages are inappropriate.
Although it takes more work and seems inefficient, addressing envelopes by hand shows your personal involvement. To confirm mailing regulations for Canada and the U.S., read my research about them.
6. Printed vs. Handwritten Signature.
Whenever possible, sign your cards rather than using a typed signature. Although a signature typed in gold or silver looks impressive, writing a message and signing your name show a relationship with your reader. Pass around cards at your workplace and have people who know the recipients sign them.
7. Holiday Letters for Business.
Holiday letters are usually reserved for personal friends and family. However, if you want to bring your business network up to date on the progress you have made this year, or if you want to share your personal side with your business associates, write and send one. Here are ideas that will help you sound sincere rather than boastful.
8. Responding to Holiday Greetings.
Although responding to holiday cards and greetings is not required, it is thoughtful to do so. Whenever you can spread peace, joy, and friendship in the world, do it!
9. Thank-Yous for Holiday Greetings and Gifts.
Ready to thank someone for a gift? Return to Number 1 above.
If you have a specific question about holiday greetings, please try your key words in this blog's search box. I have written many posts about holiday greetings, and you may find the answer there. I am sorry I cannot answer individual questions although I would love to do so.