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'Tis the Season ... for Law Firm Holiday Cards

That's right -- our expanded holiday season means that Christmas starts at Thanksgiving and ends somewhere around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And with Thanksgiving less than three weeks away, you may want to start thinking about your law firm's holiday cards.

Holiday cards are a time-honored tradition -- something you can send to clients, family members, and adversaries alike to help celebrate the holiday season. But before you get your office staff to don reindeer antlers and pose for a funny picture, here are a few things you may want to consider:

Who Gets a Card?

Clients, for sure. Sending current and former clients a holiday card is a great way to let them know you still remember them -- and also a way for them to remember you, just in case they need some more legal help. You should also send cards to any outside counsel you've associated with, along with big businesses and organizations in the area that support you (and that you support).

Are E-Cards Acceptable?

Yeah, if you're terrible. Seriously, though, e-cards are a poor substitute for paper greeting cards. And paper cards are things that people expect to get during the Christmakwanzakah season. Because they can be sent flippantly to thousands of people on a whim, electronic cards don't say anything beyond, "I cared about you enough to type your email address into a box and click a button."

What Should the Cards Say?

Generally, professional holiday cards talk a bit about the year at the firm and then wish the recipient a happy holiday season or something like that. But don't turn your firm's holiday card into one of those "family letters" that we keep getting every Christmas describing, in painful detail, how Bobby was accepted to Princeton and Suzy is playing tuba at a 7th-grade level. You should also make the cards interesting and fun, like this one that's a crossword puzzle. Be creative!

What Holiday Is It, Anyway?

Bill O'Reilly is right: There is a war on Christmas. So unless you're certain that the recipient celebrates Christmas, keep it a little more vague, with references to the "holiday season" instead of specific holidays. And it's true: There are multiple holidays in play here. It's a general festive, end-of-the-year type atmosphere.

Be Prompt

Prime time for holiday cards is between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but you want them to arrive before Christmas. So you should start sending them out after Thanksgiving. That way, you can focus the rest of your holiday season on planning the company party.

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