The holidays are fast upon us, and as we huddle up for yet another recessive year-end, the thought of lavish corporate celebration is far from our minds. Yet it’s still important to thank clients and strategic partners for their business. Oh! I have it! Let’s make an E-Card.
Stop right there. Just stop it.
News flash: The Internet has been around for 20 years now, and you’re not impressing anyone with JQuery animations embedded into a corporate group photo. We’ve seen all of this done with more class on Pepsi commercials.
By sending e-cards instead of a tangible “something” you’re telling your partners is that you can’t even bother to sit down for two minutes and write your name on a card. Instead, you’ve outsourced your Holiday sentiment to a couple of 20-year olds at your advertising agency. And you probably asked them to “keep it within budget.”
Ho Ho Ho.
Can we all step back from our cutting -edge Web programming and remember what the holidays are supposed to be about? I am simply asking for a moment’s pause before we devolve into sending “Holiday Tweets” and “Merry Xmas to all our business partners” Facebook updates.
Everyone knows that holiday corporate gift giving is about candy, processed cheese logs and hastily concocted (yet signed and MAILED) corporate cards. (And here’s the surprise — to send out these traditional items costs the same as producing a holiday e-card. And it’s better for the economy.) Where did this tradition go?
Just thinking about mail-order Hickory Farms salami with Ritz crackers and Cracker Barrel brick cheese makes me nostalgic for the annual corporate holiday food coma of years past. It’s about being together, taking a break from work, and strapping on the feed bag. Now where are those baggy pants?
It’s silly, I know. But my favorite part of corporate holidays was the silent inter-office competition to see who in the accumulated the most gifts. None of us kept them much past the holidays, unless it was something really useful like a logoed flashlight or LED keychain; the fun of it was really more in the vein of who got the most stuff.
Holiday e-cards can’t sit on my desk to impress my colleagues. And I won’t find it years later in the back of my desk drawer as a reminder of what a great business partner you’ve been over the years. E-cards are ephemeral items — forgotten as soon as they’re received.
At the very least, and I mean the VERY least, send me a card with your handwriting on it. I know that in order to get me a signed card, you probably spent half the day signing cards without knowing who they were going to, but at least you did it. You sat yourself in a chair for an hour or two and reflected on the Holiday. And with any luck you were drinking a cold beer at the same time.
Now THAT sounds more like holiday spirit. Take a minute and think about it. A whole minute.
Marci De Vries is president of MDV Interactive, a web consulting firm in Baltimore. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.