Holiday Card Etiquette For Digital And Analog

E-Card Maybe it’s the recession, or maybe it’s a sign of the digital age. I’ve been receiving a disproportionate share of holiday e-cards versus traditional paper cards sent via snail mail. I like e-cards because they’re friendlier to the environment, though I still like receiving paper greetings as well.

Either way, etiquette and finesse matter. But amidst a proliferation of e-cards, people are forgetting etiquette and finesse. Therefore, I’d like to outline the specific characteristics that make a great greeting, whether digital or analog:

  1. Creative. Does it exhibit imagination and introduce new concepts?
  2. Unique. Is it different from all the others?
  3. Personal. Does it reflect YOU?
  4. Free of Narcissism. Does it avoid self-admiration and egotism?
  5. Receivable. Can I easily open and read it?

All these characteristics underscore why handwritten, analog letters still rule.

Still, e-cards can work. In fact, I just received a terrific e-card from a friend. Actually, it was two-sentence text email — yes, plain-vanilla text and nothing else. The subject was “A good cause”. The first sentence asked me to donate to a cause he believes in: The second sentence asked me to inform him when I’m available during or after the holidays for a drink.

Very well done!

Importantly, this e-greeting met each of the five criteria above. Futhermore, this e-greeting had no cheesy holiday messaging, no corny music, no scantily clad women, and no annoying flash or animation to download. The lack of noise — plus the blunt call-to-action to GIVE to a charitable organization I admire — made this greeting really stand out.

Happy Holidays!

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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  1. I agree that a paper card in the mail still rules, especially this time of the year. New breed of photo cards from high quality places like Tiny Prints brings the best of both worlds — combining the ability to send beautiful cards with custom photos and messages. I rush to my mailbox every night after work at this time of the year to see whose cards I will receive, and I relish being able to hold them in my hands, snuggle with my kids on the couch to look at cards from friends and family together.

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