Holiday traditions in North America are numerous and varied. Kwanzaa, Hanukah and Christmas are of the few holidays celebrated in December. Many organizations opt to send holiday cards to donors, customers, investors and community members.
Holiday cards can be great tools to remind stakeholders of the problem you solve, build relationships and encourage action during the off season. When creating holiday cards it is important to remember the numerous and varied ways people interpret the holidays.
At Lunaria, it was important for us to create an inclusive holiday card that would meet our recipients right where they were. Our team spent weeks brainstorming, to create a design and copy that matched the varying ways our recipients celebrate.
We made a list of best practices for organizations to create holiday cards that make recipients feel warm, thought of, and included.
1. Hold off on religion specific language
At Lunaria we moved away from traditional, “happy holidays” to a play on the intentional inclusivity of our cards. As a Diversity and Inclusion technology company, our recipients know how important it is to us that they feel a deep sense of belonging. Our cards wrote, “Merry Everything and Anything” to encompass the dynamics of our recipients.
Inclusivity does not necessarily mean avoiding all belief specific language. At Lunaria we have close community members and customers who we know celebrate Kwanza or Christmas and in said cards we referenced their particular holiday. Neutrality should be used when beliefs are unknown or mixed.
2. Steer clear of lifestyle assumptions
Mainstream media has people thinking of family, love, and gatherings during the holidays, however, the holidays can be an incredible lonely time for many people. Language like, “you and your family,” can make people without support systems feel more alone.
A way to avoid assuming support system structure but personalize cards is to reference things you know this might be encompassing the recipients work team, self-care or a memory you shared during the year.
3. Swap religious imagery with seasonal imagery.
Christmas can inadvertently be assumed to be a North American holiday, but many North Americans do not celebrate this holiday. Images like Christmas trees, wreaths and candles hold significance for some, but not others. Images that involve winter, food, hot tea, coffee, or cozy blankets can convey feelings of warmth without assuming beliefs.
Holiday cards can be incredible tools to let people know you are thinking of them. To ensure the message is received and your messages are inclusive, the biggest recommendation is to rely on what you know about recipients, and fall back to neutral options when you are unsure.