I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve been receiving an unprecedented surge in two types of holiday cards: mass e-cards and mass-printed cards with no handwriting (not even a signature). Meanwhile, the volume of handcrafted, personalized cards and letters has droppedÂ significantly. This is a radical shift from the past, so I thought I’d unpack this a bit:
E-cards: They can be delightful, and they’re a great environment-friendly alternative to paper. Just like any other card, they’re only meaningful if meaningful effort went into producing them. What makes a meaningful e-card? Personal expression, customization, first-person video, pictures and a link to a central place where recipients can reply (the more communal and open, the better). For those feeling guilty of not sending a paper card via snail mail, I like the concept of an e-card with an associated charitable donation. To be sure, e-cards suck if they’re simply a scan or rendering of a traditional printed card, with no personalization. E-mail spam filters tend to flag them, anyway.
Mass-Printed Cards: These are acceptable only if you personalize them in some fashion. A personalized note is preferred, though initials are a minimum. But it’s bad to send a mass-printed card with no human marks. That’s insulting.Â It’s o.k. if someone is a single record in your database, but most would prefer you spare the trees and carbon emissions of land delivery versus send a mass-printed card with no human touch. It would be better to send an e-card, even a spammy one, so people can simply delete it!
Handcrafted Cards: These are the best kind, and you don’t even need a card — even a napkin can have tremendous impact. Similar to e-cards and other communications, personal expression and customization create success. We need more handcrafted cards and handwritten letters.