There is an ironic dichotomy during the month of December, something I have found perverse in its humor: The traditional, non-specific, greeting cards and gifts.
As long as I can remember, budgets are specifically formulated to send greeting cards for most clients (customers, partners, vendors, or whatever you wish to call them) and specific gifts of food, wine, or charity for special clients-customers-whatever.
Generally these are sent out of affection for the relationship (“you are such a wonderful client, give us more of your money!”) or with the intent of strengthening the relationship (“we’ve missed your money this year, here’s an overpriced gift so you can pay us back” ).
Most of the time within a firm, the food and wine are passed along to others and the cards are displayed until Christmas Eve then tossed into the Trash. This to me seems to be a terrible waste of money and resources used elsewhere – yet, yearly this open-the-waste-bin-and-toss-it-in-the-CASH, is as much a part of December festivities as is tacky sweaters and light-up Christmas neckties.
With either affection or strengthening gifts or cards these can backfire and become insulting because of the gift– such as:
- You sent us an overpriced gift that we only give to our janitor; no wonder we are paying you so much!
- Or, you sent a ham to a Jewish client?!
- Or, we donated an animal to a small African town in your honor – oh, the CEO is a Vegan!
- And my favorite, you’ve insulted the client by either your lack of emphasis on a holiday or because you focused on Christmas instead of Kwanza or Chanukah; or to simply annoy the Atheists.
To use the English phrase, you are “Damned if you do, and Damned if you don’t”
This is perhaps the greatest irony of Christmas-Chanukah-Enlightenment Day, someone is going to get there nose out of join here in the great US of A! Which is why all cards and gifts are “Generic” – just holiday cards. So what do you say?
Merry Chan-i-Kwanz-mas and a Happy Enlightenment Day?!
Or go with simply, “Happy and Prosperous New Year”; which is mostly the reason for the gifts and food, to become more prosperous by sending preposterous cards and gifts to clients whom will send money to you.