December 20, 2016
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Nothing has changed more over the past 25 years or so than the once indestructible custom of Holiday Wishes.

I remember the days when advertising agencies would go all out to prepare spectacular, multi-page cards for luxury and not-so-luxury hotels. They were often a collaborative effort between the agency and the management team at the hotel, in order to convey the true “spirit” of the property.

I collect model sports-cars: every year, the way others would set up a nativity scene, I take a gigantic watercolor of the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, received several years ago, and park my Maseratis, Ferraris, Facel-Vegas and Jaguars by the porte cochère. I recently moved my household which implied curating my collectibles.  And the card from the Hotel du Cap and my model cars made the cut.

Paris’ Hotels Plaza-Athénée, Bristol, Ritz, Crillon and Meurice would also come up with very tasteful (mostly) drawings and watercolors of the property.

Every year, I have been looking forward to receiving the card from the Hotel Plaza-Athénée: it has been wearing many different and creative guises, from that of an advent calendar to an elevator opening on different floors, to a garland of paper dolls coming out of the Plaza-Athénée landmark red box.

The cards would say Merry Christmas in several languages until it no longer was politically correct. For a few years, we played the game and stuck to Happy Holidays until someone said that that was not cool either, as some religions have their “holidays” at totally different times of year.

As a result, the Holiday Card business took a 40% hit, and many companies decided to go without. It was not bad enough that paperless and Internet cards have bitten into the printers’ income, now many “online” cards are used to carry viruses. As a result, nobody (including yours truly) bothers to open them.

I have a suggestion to “Bring Back Christmas”: telephone calls have never been cheaper, regardless what part of the world you may call. How about you make a phone call to your clients and those you sincerely care for? You do not have to say Merry Christmas to your Jewish colleague, nor to your Muslim client. All you have to be is intelligent and sincere and you will be making everyone you call (or leave a message for) very happy.

PS: That may be very good for business too.

Joyeux Noel
Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
and Happy Holidays


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