Holiday season: here before you know it!

Holiday season: here before you know it!

We’re fast approaching the end of the third quarter of the year and you know what that means: the holidays are almost here. If you’re thinking, “Wait, it’s only September,” consider how quickly summer just went by. If you plan to stay in touch with patients with a holiday greeting this season, now’s the time to make a plan.

Sending greeting cards is the most obvious way to express holiday wishes, and if you’re going that route, assign someone in the practice to determine the number of cards you’ll need this year. Consider mailing cards not only to current patients, but also to those who you’ve not seen in your office for a while. This is an opportunity to remind patients that you are available to meet their healthcare needs year-round.

Next, decide what type of card you’ll send. Many practices send Christmas cards, while some opt for a more generic “season’s greetings” or “happy holidays” message. Thanksgiving cards are also popular, and here’s an example of a nice combination holiday and new year’s greeting card. Once you know how many cards you’ll need and which type you’ll send, place your order early and stock up on postage.

Consider enclosing a group photo of your office staff and doctors with your cards this year to add a personal touch. If you have a small staff and everyone is open to sharing a glimpse into their lives outside the office, create a collage made up of each person engaging in their favorite sport orf hobby, and use that for your photo greeting.

Practices on a limited budget might choose to send holiday postcards instead of greeting cards. Somewhat more casual, postcards are less expensive than cards with envelopes and require less postage ($.29 versus $.44).

If you start now, you’ll have time to hand address your envelopes or postcards. This is a particularly nice touch today, when so much of our communication is done electronically. Receiving a card in the mail is special; receiving one that has real handwriting on it is even more so.

Greeting cards are not the only way to let patients know that you appreciate them during the holidays. Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • Tastefully decorate your waiting room for the season.
  • Have small gifts ready to hand out to patients who visit your office over the holidays (2012 calendars, key chains, note pads, coffee mugs, water bottles, stickers for the kids, etc.).
  • Hold a late afternoon holiday open house with seasonal refreshments and music.

Enjoy this upcoming holiday season by getting your greeting card or event project underway early. When the flurry of activity in December rolls around, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.