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Mercedes Oliveira

graphic designer

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The year the Christmas Card died?
January 8, 2010


Welcome to 2010 and a New Year with new possibilities.  But, what lessons did 2009 teach us?

It’s usual to review the year just gone and see what we can learn from it – it really helps make sure we continue to move forwards.  So, in that spirit, I’m looking to understand more about what happened to the humble Christmas Card in 2009. 

At home, we continued to receive the same number of Christmas Cards from long-lost friends and far-flung relatives – the tradition of sending and receiving Christmas wishes in a Christmas Card remained unaffected by the recent Postal Strikes or our desires to ‘go green’.

But, in business, I noticed a very strong shift away from the Christmas Card.  We received far fewer Christmas Cards than ever before – yet we sent more than in previous years.  At the same time, our inboxes were over-flowing with ‘electronic’ Christmas Greetings – and then there were the LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter messages too.The End of the projectfive Christmas Card?

At projectfive the Christmas Card continued to hold an important place in our hearts.  We chose the design carefully back in the Autumn and, come December, we put on the Christmas Carols, served the mulled wine and mince pies, and sat around the meeting room table signing the cards.

We didn’t want to use the Christmas Card as a ‘marketing gadget’ to sell to our clients.  Instead, we wanted to use it was a way of keeping in touch over the festive period, showing people that we care and thanking them for their help and support over the previous year.   Sending so many cards was not easy – it took time and effort.

We could so easily, especially as a technology company, have created a fantastically designed electronic Christmas message and emailed it to everyone.  But, it would have taken very little time to do so, and if you’d have received such a message what would your thoughts have been? 

Would you have been pleased that we hadn’t wasted paper by sending you a real Christmas Card?  Would you interpret an electronic messages as meaning we didn’t have enough time to do anything more?  Or, perhaps that you weren’t important enough to warrant anything more? 

And, what about all of the contacts on our database?  Should we have sent an Electronic Message to everyone as well as sending a Christmas Card to those that we’re closer to?

But, and here’s the question… did we get it wrong?  And should we be doing something different next year?

It can be harder to spot trends when they challenge our traditions.  But, should we be fighting to hold onto the traditions of Christmas?  Or, by sending Christmas Cards, are we showing ourselves to be dinosaurs who are unwilling to accept change and continue to act in a way that both business and society no longer values?

Reducing our Carbon Footprint is something that we should all be focussing on.  Whether you believe that Climate Change is caused by Man, or just a natural cycle in the World’s ever-changing atmosphere, I haven’t yet met anyone who can put up a strong argument AGAINST the need to reduce waste (anyone who’s unwrapped a kid’s Christmas present this year will know how much extra packaging goes into each and every toy – and there’s only so much landfill that we can create before we’re knee-deep in it).

So, for companies like projectfive who like to lead by example, it’s important for us to do things right.  But, at the same time, we do value our History and we do value our Traditions – so how do we balance these opposing forces?

I’d love to hear your views on this.  Did you receive less Christmas Cards this year?  Were you pleased that you received less?  And, are you going to send any Christmas Cards in 2010?

Please email me your replies, and I’ll add your comments in a follow-up article.  And, I’ll review whether, in 2010, projectfive will send any Christmas Cards.

In the meantime, if I haven’t done so already, I’d like to wish you luck for the New Year and hope that you had a really enjoyable Christmas.

Steve Coburn,
Managing Director, projectfive.

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