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Christmas in July: Why You Should Start Designing Your Holiday Cards Now

The idea of thinking about your company’s holiday cards while the thermometer still says summer might seem a bit premature. But in today’s world of labor and material shortages, supply chain disruptions and extended lead times, a little foresight now could very well pay dividends when the holiday card season is upon us — especially given the recent increase in popularity of holiday cards with millennials. 

A recent article in the Washington Post revealed the interest in holiday cards amongst this highly sought after demographic has increased by about 15% since 2019. While this alone may not seem like a staggering figure, it has a little more weight when you consider that about 1.6 billion cards are mailed every holiday season. 

With a readily captive audience for this kind of festive communication, it makes sense this year perhaps more than ever to start thinking now about the design, paper stock and creative flourishes that can help your holiday card stand out. 

More time to personalize and customize

The power of variable data printing (VDP) is pretty fully realized at this point; in addition to adding a personal touch to mail pieces, VDP allows you to create truly customized content that will appeal to specific people. While VDP is a relatively streamlined process, designing your holiday card now gives you more time to ensure the accuracy of your contact database through internal audits and to strategize how you can use VDP to its most powerful potential. 

Most companies use VDP with their holiday cards to add personalization like first name, company name or job title. The trick is to mine your customer database for unique contact or demographic information that can help you create tailored messaging that engages, delights and leaves a lasting positive impression.

For example, geographic location, duration of business relationship or even growth in the number of employees can make for more personalized holiday card content, and starting now will give you enough time to ensure your contact records are up-to-date. 

Extended proofing and review time

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab has identified the most common typographic or grammatical errors found in pieces of writing: left-out or doubled words, sentence fragments, comma splices and subject-verb disagreements. In addition, the Purdue Writing Lab suggests proofing a piece of writing multiple times as some of these common missteps are not always spotted on the initial review. 

Designing your holiday card in July gives you ample lead time to create and proof the copy that will accompany the printed piece to help avoid these embarrassing errors. Beginning your holiday card work in July also allows for plenty of time to review your design concept both internally and with your printer to ensure the proper bleeds, accurate dimensions and superior color or image quality. 

On a related note, giving yourself a few extra months of proofing and review time can also come in handy when executing a more sophisticated holiday card that utilizes dimension or digital integrations to truly wow your recipient. The more complex the project, the more time you should allow for in-depth review and revision.  

Reduced lead and production time

We’ve all experienced that feeling of dread and panic when the one holiday gift you had in mind for someone in particular is sold out or on back-order, and won’t arrive in time for your holiday gathering. The same panicky feeling can be had when waiting until the holiday season to design and print your cards only to discover printing projects are backed up or lead times are extended. 

Designing and preparing your holiday cards for print now not only increases the likelihood that you’ll be at the front of the line, but it also gives you more leeway in terms of troubleshooting potential problems with your design. Plus, you’ll have more flexibility with timelines in the event your printer experiences breakdowns or disruptions in project productivity. 

With about three months until the holiday season gets underway, designing your holiday cards now can help you avoid a whole host of issues later and help you create a more personalized, poignant and memorable holiday greeting. Our holiday card template can help you get a leg up on the design and print process. 

Download the template to get a head start on the holiday rush.