Sending branded Christmas cards is a great way of making your clients feel valued and keeping your business front of mind. But at this time of year, it’s a job that easily languishes at the bottom of your to-do list.
If you haven’t yet designed or written your cards, just pause a moment before you hit the print button or scribble in haste. A last-minute rush job could result in a grammar clanger and ruin your festive gesture.
Here are some of the most common mistakes I see on Christmas cards every year – and my tips on how to avoid them:
There’s an all-important apostrophe missing here – the type that indicates ownership. The greetings ‘belong’ to the season so ‘Season’s Greetings’ is correct – don’t let me catch you writing without that lovely apostrophe!
Step away from the caps lock!
Just as some people take a far too relaxed approach to apostrophes, others can go a bit capital letter crazy. I’m always amazed at how often I see the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ incorrectly written with both words capitalised. It only requires a capital letter at the start of ‘Christmas’ as it’s a proper noun, unless the phrase is at the beginning of a sentence when you would also capitalise the first letter of ‘merry’ too. The same goes for ‘happy Christmas.’
Of course it looks better, but it’s grammatically wrong and with Officer Sarah of the Grammar Police on duty, you’d better get it right!
…and then step back again!
‘New Year’ is a tricky one – to capitalise or not? The easy way to remember is that it’s an official holiday, like Christmas or Easter, meaning it should be capitalised. And always be sure to use ‘Happy New Year’ not ‘Happy New Years’ or ‘Happy New Year’s’. But I refer you back to my first point on apostrophes when writing ‘New Year’s Eve’ or ‘New Year’s Day’ – you must include one here as the ‘eve’ and the ‘day’ belong to the New Year.
What’s in a name?
When sending a card from your business, you might sign off with the name of your organisation – ‘From all the team at The Village Florists’, for example. But if yours is a family business, you might instead use your family name – such as ‘the Hendersons’. In which case, don’t be tempted to misuse our old friend the apostrophe! You simply need to add an ‘s’ to pluralise your surname so it will be ‘the Hendersons’ not ‘the Henderson’s’.
If you do write ‘the Henderson’s’… then the sentence is unfinished, because the apostrophe in this position is possessive, showing there’s a belonging.
i.e. The Henderson’s poor grammar!!
If you’d like some help designing error-free Christmas cards or would just like a professional to proof read them for you for a tiny £10 fee, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org