Your Guide to Holiday Card Planning

If you haven’t started making plans for your corporate holiday cards, I’m here to save the day. We just completed delivery on a holiday card project for Ellis & Winters and they were so awesome I thought I’d share.

So you better get busy. You have some critical decisions to make and a tight timeline to do it. But don't worry, I can ship standard card orders within 3 business days and ship overnight if needed.

Which Holiday Are You Observing?

In recent years, some lawyers have decided to beat the holiday card rush and send “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Happy New Year” greetings. Most, however, send their cards to arrive in early December, to take the traditional “season’s greetings” approach to cover the many holidays happening at the end of the year. It’s wise and thoughtful to remember that many clients and colleagues come from different faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Some observe their significant holidays at other times of the year entirely. 

E-Card or Printed Card?

Although many firms have turned to e-cards, the signed printed card is still a favorite. Whatever your decision, make your selection soon and get started right away on design concepts and updating mailing lists.

What’s Your Message?

What do you want the card to say? “Wishing you the best in the New Year?” “Warm holiday wishes to you and yours?” “Season’s greetings?” Or  … perhaps you want to go down the humorous message path? The options are endless, of course. Just make sure your message accepts celebration of various holiday traditions and that it is about the recipient instead of all about you. The best approach is to keep your content simple and concise.

Consider: Customized message. Many cards have common “holiday” messages at no extra charge. But a custom message is worth the $25.00 don’t you think?

What’s the Creative Concept?

Having selected the holiday message you wish to express, you have to consider the “creative.” What images will you use? What words will you choose? Holiday cards traditionally use many different images, including wintery landscape scenes, bright holiday lights, gifts being wrapped or unwrapped, wreaths and photos of cities in which the firms reside. Just make sure that the tone and spirit of the card reflects your firm’s brand. If that means something more unusual, creative or quirky, plan on production taking a bit more time then a traditional card, since the more creative elements that are added the longer it may take to get the concept through internal approval and production. 

Consider: Foil imprinting, embossed designs and adding your color logo.

Who Will Receive the Card?

How do you decide who receives them and which lawyer or lawyers will sign and send them? Do you create one central list that is approved by firm management or do practice groups develop their own lists and assign lawyers to send and therefore organize the signature process? 

For larger firms, this becomes one of the most difficult portions of the holiday card project. Another option is to have each individual lawyer responsible for their own holiday card distribution. The main concern here is that one recipient may receive multiple cards from your firm. Some firms believe this reinforces the importance of the recipient, others think it makes the firm look uncoordinated and wasteful.
As for the actual mailing list, you should include clients, prospects, friends of the firm, real or potential referral sources and firm alumni. Staff managers may wish to send the greetings to vendors and professional association colleagues. In some firms, the relationship between firm and client is broadened by including paralegals, assistants and secretaries in the signing groups, or encouraging them to send their own greetings to their contacts in the client organization.

Who Signs and Sends the Card?

For a solo lawyer, this is a perfect time of year for a sincere handwritten note on each card. Lawyers in larger firms who can make this work while coordinating with others find it to be the best approach for them as well. Many different strategies have been developed for the actual signings, one being to set up large conference rooms for signing sessions to ensure that everyone who touches a client signs their card.

Consider: Signature imprinting. Have the signatures imprinted in foil or ink and eliminate the signing. There is a minimal set-up charge. You just sign the signatures on a white sheet of paper in a felt tip pen. Do not overlap the signatures. Then the layout and size can be adjusted for the particular card chosen.

What About the Envelope?

It’s easy to get so focused on the card that you forget to plan the envelope. If you have multiple offices and lawyers sending cards, you will need to create envelopes with return addresses from each office. Nothing says “I did not put any thought into my holiday greeting” like a holiday card from a Wilmington lawyer sent in an envelope with the firm’s Raleigh return address. Also, lawyers in smaller offices have been known to feel marginalized by the implication that they aren’t in the “home office.” 

Consider: Self-seal envelopes. This costs a little more the staff will love you.

Holiday Card Planning Checklist 


  •        The vendor or designer you will employ to create the card
  •        The general creative concept and copy for your card
  •        Obtaining your first round of draft concepts for review and selection
  •        Approving the final card concept
  •        Identifying the quantity of print cards you need and ordering them
  •        Determining how many envelopes you will need and ordering them
  •        Beginning your mailing list process
  •        Informing the firm’s lawyers (if more than one) of when and how the cards will be distributed to them for signing
  •        Prepping any other staff or departments that touch the holiday card project on their role in implementing
  •        Printed cards in-hand
  •        Mailing lists updated and confirmed
  •        Printed cards distributed to lawyers
  •        Signing of the masses complete (if you take that approach)
  •        Started snail-mailing right after Thanksgiving
  •        Complete your mailing, preferably in early December
  •        Handle any last-minute requests for additional cards


Okay, so obviously you didn’t read this article until November. There is still time! It is acceptable to send cards out throughout the end of December. And we still offer 25% discounts up until 12/6/14.