At the holidays, many firms send cards to their clients. Remember though that this is not the “most wonderful time of the year” for some clients. Perhaps a person they love died this past year (or the year before—the second holiday season is often just as emotional and difficult as the first, especially if the death happened near or at holiday time.) Perhaps this is the first holiday post-divorce, or a family member is in the hospital. Perhaps you have clients of Middle Eastern origin who are mourning the violence at home. With all the losses, it is vitally important to acknowledge their reality and let them know you care. That’s why every year I offer an array of different suggestions for what you can write in holiday cards.
Start with the card itself. Instead of sending the same “Happy” wishes to all clients, send cards that wish Peace, or that have a lovely scene on the front. Although not required, it’s a nice touch to include a “comfort gift,” such as a mug with packets of hot cocoa, a gift certificate for a massage or spa day, a “hospital care package” (snacks, bottled beverages and puzzle books), a bottle of their favorite craft beer or wine, bath salts along with a scented candle, a tree ornament or candle that has the name or picture of their deceased loved one, or anything you believe would be comforting or renewing to that particular client.
Here are suggestions for card texts that are applicable in a wide range of situations. Use them as is, modify or combine different ideas, or use them as a springboard to write your own message.
- (Along with a bottle of their favorite beverage): We’re raising a glass together with you in memory of <name>. We will never forget him, especially during these holidays.
- In this holiday season, your experience may seem almost the exact opposite of what is happening around you and what others expect. I hope you can let go of those expectations and do what makes sense for you. In the whirlwind that surrounds you, rely on those who get it, and take the time you need for yourself. I’m here for you throughout this season and beyond.
- Your family is finding your way through a very different experience of the holidays this year. It is no doubt a time of ups and downs. We are right here in your corner. Through it all, we wish you smiles along with the tears, and moments of peace that comfort your spirit.
- The holidays are tough when ones you love aren’t here to share them. I hope this gift certificate for a massage provides a moment of respite and helps to renew your spirit. I’m holding you in my heart, especially at this time of year.
- I won’t wish you a happy holiday. I wish you an honest holiday, where you’re free to feel whatever you’re feeling at the time without anyone telling you otherwise. Do what seems right for you. I’m here to support you, listen to you and help you keep moving forward, day by day.
- A parent’s death is sometimes compared to the cutting of a kite string, setting you adrift. We’re here to help you navigate your continued flight through this world. Especially in this holiday season as you learn to celebrate without their physical presence, may you occasionally feel a familiar tug on your “kite” and know that you are never cut off from their love.
- For many grieving people, anticipating the holidays is worse than the days themselves. As you approach [Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc.], the best wisdom I’ve heard is to plan how you wish to mark the day. Some people want to be alone; others want to be with friends or family. Some want to be busy all day; others want quiet time to reflect, shed tears and remember. Follow your own heart. However you choose to spend the days, know that we are here for you as you continue to navigate through milestone days and move into the future.
- May the tears over the absence of <name> be balanced by smiles as you gather with friends and family this holiday season to tell stories, reminisce and remember the amazing gift that he/she was. We’re remembering with you.
You set yourself apart when you recognize your clients’ losses and support them in ways that most others do not. They will notice, and they will appreciate it. It is the best gift you can give.
Amy Florian is the CEO of Corgenius, combining neuroscience and psychology to train financial professions in how to build strong relationships with clients through all the losses and transitions of life.