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Happy Holiday Writing

Update on December 27, 2011: For current new year’s greetings, see this post.

Akiko from Orange, California, wrote to ask about holiday greeting cards for business contacts. Her message reminded me that it is time to share ideas for communicating during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Since I wrote about how to write holiday greetings last December, much of my work is done. Check out these posts:

Sending Holiday Greetings gives tips on sending greetings that are right for a range of holidays and holy days. Here are some of the upcoming dates, courtesy of the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), which provides a detailed list:

  • December 16-25, Las Posadas, Mexico
  • December 16-24, Hanukkah, Jewish
  • December 25, Christmas, Christian
  • December 26, Boxing Day, Canada and United Kingdom
  • December 26-January 1, Kwanzaa, U.S., African-American
  • January 1, New Year’s Day, Japanese New Year
  • January 6, Epiphany, Christian
  • January 20, Eid al-Ahda, Islamic, Muslim
  • January 29, Tet Nguyen Dan, Vietnam
  • January 31, Al Hijra, Muslim New Year

Tips for Writing a Holiday Letter offers ideas for writing an annual letter without sounding like a braggart.

Happy New Year Sentiments and Sentences shares sample messages to say Happy New Year to customers, clients, employees, volunteers, and others.

Post-Holiday Writing Etiquette tells how to say thank you for holiday gifts and kindnesses.

Visit Omniglot to learn how to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in dozens of languages.

Akiko had a few other questions about sending greetings to business contacts:

Question: For contacts with a wide range of religions, what should the card look like? What should it say?
Answer: Get a card that doesn’t emphasize a religious theme or use religious imagery. Good choices are landscapes, fine art reproductions, planet Earth, and flowers. I buy all my business holiday cards at a store called Papyrus, which offers a great variety of beautiful cards. Good messages are Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Peace on Earth, and other phrases that don’t focus on religion.

Question: Should I include a photograph of myself?
Answer: Interesting question! How would your business contacts feel about receiving your photo? I don’t remember ever receiving a business holiday greeting with a photo, but if you would like to create a stronger personal relationship with these people, why not?

Question: When should cards go out?
Answer: Any time now. I received my first Christmas card of this year on November 24. I hope to mail my greetings by December 15. If you are sending New Year’s cards, you can wait until December 20 or even later.

Akiko’s mother has been urging her for years to send greeting cards to her business contacts. That is excellent advice! The holidays are a perfect time to remember clients, customers, employees, and others.

Other search spellings: buisnes, bisness, Chrismas, Cristmas, wirting, holdiay, holidya, etqiuette, etiquitte, etiquete

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.