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What I Learned About Holiday Cards This Year

I’ve been knocking around the world of work for more than 35 years now, so I feel qualified to make blanket statements and sweeping generalizations about plenty of things with only limited facts.

Holiday cards just aren’t what they used to be.

This year, I received no more than five actual holiday greeting cards.  Five years ago, I bet I got at least 40.  I don’t think I am any less popular than I was back then, and my office location hasn’t moved so I think something else is afoot – and that something is digital greeting cards.

I will just come right out and say that I think most of them are lame, not at all creative, and so politically correct that I’m not even sure what I am being wished.  For the first time this year, I received several cards that said “Happy Everything.”  I am not making this up.

The other problem with digital holiday cards is that their nature is dependent on the device on which you read them.  I received an e-card from a large public accounting firm that appeared to be a bare brown tree in a field of green.  I kept clicking on the picture on my PC but nothing happened – it remained a bare brown tree.  Never wanting to miss a chance to take a shot at the managing partner of the firm, a friend, I immediately sent him an email complimenting him on the “nuclear winter” theme of the greeting. Later, I opened the same greeting on a hand-held device, and it came to life!  Leaves grew on the tree!  A dove flew into the tree!  Still kind of generic, but much better than the original, and much less confusing.

In our search firm, we took a completely different approach this year.  Since we are in such a “people business,” we wanted to send our greetings from everyone in our firm.  We did that by grafting the faces of all of us onto a second grade class picture.  Check it out below and let us know what you think.

ssg elementary

All I can tell you is that we have received an overwhelming response to the card.  People just loved it.  I guess we will find out next year if we inspired anyone else to use their holiday card as a way to create an impression and bring a smile to people’s faces.  Or maybe “Happy Everything” is here to stay.

John Salveson

John Salveson

John brings more than 30 years of experience consulting with a broad range of organizations, including life sciences and pharmaceutical companies, banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, professional service firms, healthcare providers, retailers, service organizations and non-profit institutions. Working closely with senior leadership, John helps companies define their talent needs and execute creative strategies to recruit and retain that talent. He has particular expertise in management and organization development consulting. John also serves as Practice Leader for the firm’s Wholesale Distribution Specialty Practice. Read the full bio.

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