Picture, if you will, it is nearing the end of the third week of December. The sun's almost at the point where it begins its slow rise again. You are furiously scribbling out personal messages on your holiday cards, but you keep messing up because your hand is shaking from one too many peppermint mocha lattes in an effort to finish the job. You can't remember if you signed half the envelopes you've sealed. Your personalization has grown shorter and less coherent as the night has progressed until you finally made the decision to just skip it all together (sorry, Uncle Bob and Aunt June). And all this so you can spend HOURS in line at the post office with all the other perspiring procrastinators.
Or maybe this scenario is more fitting: somehow the not-so-coveted position of having to order holiday cards for work fell on you this year (did you lose the office bet?). Nobody gave you their opinion about what to order until the minute they glanced over at your computer screen and saw the online proof. Then, all of a sudden, everyone wants a say as to what needs to be changed. Meanwhile the boss is breathing down your neck in a not-so-subtle "I needed these last week" kind of way.
Why choose to do this to yourself? Every year we say we're going to be good and send our holiday cards early. Yet, every year, this resolution gets trampled by the frenzy of holiday activities. Sending "Season's Greetings" to family and friends, or clients and colleagues, is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. What happened? I mean, it's only October and already the anxiety of the season is starting to accumulate like a blizzard.
There is an alternative I came across that I totally gobbled up, and I hope you will too. Don't wait until December-send Thanksgiving cards instead! I know what you're thinking, "Thanksgiving cards? What the heck?", and I know we're not all comfortable with change (coming from a girl who still has clothes in her closet from high school), but sometimes change really is for the better. I'm going to outline just a few of the many brilliant reasons to seriously consider this somewhat shocking suggestion.
- Be the first: Once the barrage of holiday greeting cards starts flooding in, it's very easy for yours to get lost in the shuffle. Come mid-December, card holders start filling up and chances are that all your holiday work may be for nothing. Clients, family, and friends are receiving them so fast and furiously at that point, there's a good chance your card won't even be the only card they receive that particular day.
You've probably heard the expression, "we learn best what we learn first." Well I think it should be, "we remember best the holiday cards we receive first" instead. Early in the season, we haven't yet let the fact that stores have been playing Christmas music since August put a damper on our holiday mood. By sending them for Thanksgiving, not only will your cards be the first on the card holder this year, but they'll also be the only one there until the rest of us get our acts together.
- Have one less thing to worry about: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It's a wonderful opportunity to spend time with relatives, share a yummy meal together, and relax. Thanksgiving also seems to be the official start of the holiday card sending. Wouldn't it be fabulous to know you already have the task covered? Just think: you can watch the entire Macy's parade (or all the football games) without a sense of impending urgency.
- Do something different: Don't get us wrong, there is a wide selection of holiday cards out there, many of which are unique and a welcomed break from the traditional, sometimes boring, greetings. But to send a holiday card for Thanksgiving is in itself a unique concept. Your family and friends will throw countless kudos your way for your creative spirit.
- Send a perfect message: Thanksgiving is specifically an American tradition. It's something we can all celebrate despite our differing religious beliefs or cultural backgrounds. Also, I can't think of a better time to tell your family and friends what they mean to you and why you're thankful to have them in your life. Since not everyone can gather around the same table, sending a Thanksgiving card is a way of bringing all your loved ones near to you in spirit. As for businesses, you can take this golden opportunity to express gratitude to customers and clients and appreciation for colleagues and employees.
I don't mean to offend anyone who is a die-hard fan of keeping the custom of sending greeting cards in December. All I want to do is present this new possibility to anyone who might be looking for something different this holiday season. I will leave you with one last tempting motivation for ordering Thanksgiving cards. If everyone on your list has your card in hand before Turkey Day, that leaves you even more time and energy to plot your plan of attack for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. More on that later!