Have you sent your Christmas cards?

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It’s nearly Christmas

 

It must be I’ve started to see the adverts.

 

It’s not the end of the world if you haven’t done your Christmas shopping yet but it is high time to think about your Christmas cards. Yes, civic cards require some thought.

 

They can require a considerable amount of work. You need to produce the cards, agree the list, print labels and stick stamps on envelopes. Or at least someone does.

 

But before you endure a seemingly endless afternoon of signing cards let’s take a moment to think about what the cards should look like.

 

If you aren’t sure, here is The Civic Coach’s guide to what to put on your Christmas cards.

 

Christmas card contest

 

Up and down the country many cards will be adorned with a child’s drawing that has won a contest. Typically, they are the work of primary school children and are usually on the cute end of the scale.

 

The reason why a lot of councils do this is obvious. It’s a nice community initiative and it saves on the cost of a professional designer.

 

If you have only just started thinking about your cards it is not too late to pursue this option. Sure, arranging an area wide contest may be out of your time frame but you could certainly arrange one with a single school or youth group, such as a local Scout Group. If it is successful then maybe next year it could be repeated with wider participation.

 

It’s the thing to do if…

 

You are interested in involving young people.

 

A Photo of you

 

Yes it happens. I’ve seen some embarrassing photos of mayors and chairs trying to look good and a few quite funny ones.

 

It is not something I would advise you to do as it is a bit vain. If you are going to use a funny photo make sure you check with a friend that it is genuinely funny.

 

It’s the thing to do if…

 

You are in love with yourself.

 

Celebrate your community

 

If you don’t want a picture drawn by a child you could have a contest for adults. You could get the local camera club to run a competition for the best winter photo or you could involve local artists.

 

It can be a particularly effective way of showcasing local views or buildings. Your brief for the contest shouldn’t be too strict as you will get better results if you give creative people a bit of freedom.

 

It’s the thing to do if…

 

You want to celebrate the beauty of your community.

 

Don’t send any at all

 

There is always a question with Christmas cards, are they worth the money? It doesn’t matter if the council is paying or it is coming out of your allowance it is all tax payers’ money. Ask yourself if the cards are delivering value?

 

At the very least you should look at the distribution list. Does everyone on it need to be on it?

 

You may also want to consider the environmental cost of sending the cards. Is it worth all the paper, card, energy and fuel that it takes? Maybe you should send as few as possible or even none.

 

It’s the thing to do if…

 

You are pursuing an environmental agenda.

 

How many sleeps…

 

At best, you have about 10 weeks to sort, sign and send your cards. If you don’t know what you’re going to do, it’s time to start asking questions.

 

It might seem like a little thing but it says a lot about what kind of civic leader you are.

 

Make sure your cards send the right message.

Duncan Bhaskaran BrownHave you sent your Christmas cards?

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