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Etiquette: Observe etiquette on greeting cards

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By JAN NORMAN

The Orange County Register

Sending greeting cards for the year-end holidays is a great way to strengthen business relationships, but it’s also a way to commit embarrassing blunders, according to greeting card executive Marc Wagenheim.

“The card-sending season is full of potential etiquette pitfalls,” said Wagenheim, product development director for Hallmark Business Expressions, a subsidiary of Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards with more than 140 holiday card designs.

U.S. businesses will send an estimated 300 million to 400 million Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and nonreligious year-end holiday cards.

Wagenheim offers businesses the following tips for sending holiday cards without faux pas.

Be the early bird. One of the best ways for your greeting card to stand out is to send it early.

Steven Stultz of Stultz Financial Inc. in Newport Beach mailed his cards to 500 customers and former customers before Thanksgiving.

“We want to stay in front of people. If our card is the first to arrive, you’ll notice. In two weeks you’ll get 15 cards a day,” he said.

Mind the message. Generally, holiday greeting cards should be more tailored and formal than cards for family and friends, Wagenheim said. Keep messages brief and secular unless you are certain of the recipient’s religious faith.

However, like many Orange County business owners, Stultz prefers funny to formal. His card has a snowman talking on a cell phone.

“We always send something lighthearted. We want to have fun,” he said.

Sign in, please. Business people can personalize the card by signing it and addressing the envelope by hand, Wagenheim said.

“It’s also smart to write a short note,” he added.

First class all the way. Send your cards first class and use real postage stamps, not the company mail meter.

Check your spelling. Verify how recipients’ names are spelled. Sending a card to someone whose name or company name is misspelled undermines the attempt to show you care

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