Kelly Kontinues to Kourt Kontroversy—Tuesdays Times Two

Because I want to know what you really think….

Last week I came down on the side of sending holiday cards to your business contacts.

Don’t let the wishes be meaningless!…

I wouldn’t skip the tradition of sending a card at this time of the year, but for Maximum Customer Experience, make well-wishes a fun part of thinking of your best customers and business contacts more than once a year. Create a schedule for keeping in touch, keep your list small, and let your firm’s Vision shine through in your approach.”

We had a rollicking, unexpected discussion in the comments, debating the phrasing of your greeting. Ironically, every word of this post was written before that one—including the opening sentence, which goes like this:

 

We’re all super sensitive about “Merry Christmas” these days. Some folks don’t want to hear it; some folks adamantly do.

I recently got a card in the mail from a retailer that merely stated “Greetings.”

Apparently even “Season’s” is too much for someone at their headquarters.

This is nothing new. Though that card was a bit extreme, I actually applaud our pan-religious, pan-ethnic approach to the holiday season. I have friends and colleagues of many faiths and backgrounds, and I’m happy to change a little phrasing to tell them I’m wishing everyone well, not just folks who celebrate the season as I do.

There are two ways to look at it: if you don’t know a person’s background, a nice neutral “Happy Holidays” is a seasonal pleasantry that works; if you do, I see nothing wrong with coming right out and saying “Happy Hanukkah!”

Retailers were all over this. For years your greeting was inclusive, while your selection was carefully targeted to our many seasonal needs: There were at least a Christmas section, a Hanukkah section, and a Kwanzaa section in many larger retail stores. Hallmark, the card and gift retailer known for celebrating anything, had you covered no matter what.

So what’s up with the Big Boys this holiday season?

I drove to Target‚ the massive discount department store, for blue and silver Hanukkah wrap and discovered there is NO section of the store set up for my Jewish friends and those of us who’d like to give them a gift at this time of year. This is a gigantic store, people. No excuse.

I next went to Michael’s, the major craft store in the U.S. and the next closest purveyor of holiday items. They, too, are ignoring folks who celebrate Hanukkah. Never mind Kwanzaa, the seven-day African-American celebration which gains in popularity every year, in which the sixth day is dedicated to Kuumba, the principle of Creativity. Not one shelf. More than in our overly commercialized, modern Christmas, in Kwanzaa making gifts is actually common. Can you say “missed the boat”?

Finally, I went to Hallmark, not relishing paying too much but ready to peruse the aisle and find just what I had in mind. One. Endcap. For  Hanukkah gifts, decorations, and wrap. Two linear feet.

If I were one of these retailers, I’d make my stock reflect my greetings. I’m offended by the pretense of not offending, with “Season’s Greetings” displays and the like, while in fact only catering to folks who celebrate this season in one way.

‘Tis the season to give more than lip service to Happy Holidays to All.

Now I know, if you have a Volvo, you see Volvos everywhere, and if you’re shopping for Hanukkah, you notice what is and isn’t available, so (not knowing each of my readers’ preferred holiday celebrations) perhaps you haven’t paid close attention, but this change seems very strong and sudden, and pretty tough not to notice at all.

Have you seen a move toward less than sincere attention to inclusiveness as you shop for your holiday needs this year? [Dare I say it?] What do you think this backslide’s all about? Is it one more “recessionary indicator,” or is it something more?

 

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson