Culture

February 7th is National Send a Card to a Friend Day. I know it might seem like an excuse to sell greeting cards, but let’s not let that detail overshadow what good it can do. This blast from the past could be just the thing you need in the present. Wouldn’t you like to get a card in the mail?

Technology has evolved rapidly over the years. We can contact someone via email, Facebook, Skype, text and even more forms of social media. In dire situations, we call someone. We are essentially used to getting an immediate response from people. While that can be incredibly useful, speediness doesn’t necessarily need to be the most important thing in every situation.

Think of how you would feel getting something in the mail other than a bill or an advertisement. Did you ever get love letters in high school because texting wasn’t allowed in class? Or even get a nice note from a friend? I still have these treasures and they are nice to look back on. You are instantly transported to where you were in your life and the people you surrounded yourself with. It can be invaluable to have something substantial in front of you. You can take time to gather your thoughts and really put meaning into a letter or a card. Unlike a text that will get lost in a million others, letters have a better chance of standing the test of time.

We have forgotten how easy it is to do this. Here are a few benefits to sending a card:

  1. You only need a few supplies. All you need is a pen, a card or paper, an envelope and a stamp. You probably have all this stuff at home. If not, they are extremely easy to get.
  2. You can be as creative as you want. You could make a card from scratch and decorate it yourself.
  3. Don’t forget the message. You can also send an e-card if that is easier. The true point is to reach out to those closest to you. This an opportunity to make a lasting statement to someone. Don’t waste it. This is a way to show someone you are thinking of them on a day other than their birthday or a holiday.

So take the time to reach out to a friend. It’s never a bad time to do so. You might even brighten someone’s entire day. It’s a surprise that no one is expecting.

Skills

Not only does the end of summer mean shifting back into school-mode, but it also means saying goodbye to your bosses at your internship and job. As you wrap up work, don’t forget one very important thing: thank you cards. When you give a thank you card to your boss, mentor, or a peer who helped you, it should look professional. Leave a good impression on those you worked with by writing a few sentences about what you learned from them, why the experience was so meaningful, and that you’d love to stay in touch. Either give these cards to your bosses and mentors in-person, or simply mail it to the office a couple of days after you have cleared out. Here are 5 professional thank you cards you can use to express your gratitude to those who have had an impact on your life. Not only will it demonstrate your professionalism and thoughtfulness, but there’s also nothing like good ol’ snail mail!

1. Navy Strip and Gold Foil

2. Minimalist Thank You

3. Classic Thanks

4. Black and White Thank You

5. Quiet Thank You

What professional thank you cards are you sending to your bosses and mentors? What else are you doing to express gratitude?

CultureSkills

‘Tis the season for Christmas music, holiday decorations, and…holiday cards? Each holiday season, you might give your friends little gifts and cards, and your family might send out cards to family around the globe. In addition to sending holiday cards to just family and friends, you may want to consider sending cards to previous internship supervisors, family friends who gave you advice, and mentors who sat down with you for coffee and informational interviews. Holiday cards can be short and sweet, and they are a nice gesture to show your network that you are thinking of them and to keep you in their minds. Before jumping into just sending off random holiday cards, we have compiled tips that we have learned over the years…

  1. Gather information: If you collected business cards from those you worked for or worked with, there is usually an address listed on the front. If you only have an email, you can simply send a message to the person who you want to send a card to asking for his or her mailing address. It is more convenient to have all of the necessary information before you start writing cards so that you can easily seal them up in the envelopes and send them off all at once.
  2. Send cards to your network: Send holiday notes to your old bosses, mentors, and people you have met before and admire. Just as you would email them every now and then with a ‘hello’ and update, holiday cards are a great way to stay in touch.
  3. What to write: You don’t need to write a novel. Simply (hand write!) a brief note wishing them a happy holiday season, a great new year, and perhaps one sentence about what you have been up to or a couple of sentences about a memory or important lesson learned from your experience together.
  4. Keep it ambiguous: If you aren’t sure whether your previous internship supervisor celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah, keep the message a little ambiguous by sticking to: “Happy holidays!” This way, you won’t offend anyone or make any assumptions. You can’t go wrong with wishing someone a ‘Happy holidays!’ or a “Happy New Year!’
  5. When to send: Since the holidays can be a crazy time to send letters and packages, it’s better to send your holiday cards earlier rather than later. Get your cards written, sealed, and stamped by the end of November or early December, and try to get them out by the end of the first week of December. This gives the cards plenty of time to make their way to their destination.
  6. Types of cards: The cards you send don’t need to be expensive. If you want to hand-make your holiday cards, that would be great! If you are looking to purchase nice cards, here are some good options: Papyrus / Tiny Prints / Shutterfly /Paper Source / Target / Barnes and Noble. If you get your cards in early/mid-November or at the end of Christmas from the year before, you can score some pretty sweet deals and save a couple of extra dollars.
  7. Plan ahead: For next Christmas, buy holiday cards from this year that are on-sale. That way you can save money and be prepared for next year’s round of holiday cards! Also, maintain a list of contacts with their addresses to make next year’s information gathering super easy.

Will you be writing holiday cards this holiday season?