Modern Journalist Toolkit 21: Are your editors on your list? 🎅🏿

Modern Journalist Toolkit 21: Are your editors on your list? 🎅🏿

Spoiler and disclaimer, my friend: I am NOT very consistent about sending holiday cards. I send them some years and not others; when I do send them, who I send them to changes; I’ve sent paper and ecards. All of this applies to friends and family as well as clients.

So please don’t take this as a must for your to-do list, but rather as a gentle suggestion of something you might not have thought about: sending holiday cards, and possibly small gifts, to editors you’ve worked with in the past few years.

Sending holiday cards to editors

There are no hard and fast rules. Sending cards is a way to say thanks, to stay in touch, and to reconnect.

I look for ones that could be tacked up on a cork board beyond December. It’s okay to keep the text short. If you’ve developed a relationship, it’s fine to write a few sentences that are more personal or refer to shared interests or experiences. If you’ve only had brief communication, a single sentence is enough.

Sending holiday presents to clients

Some years I’ve sent small gifts to editors. Again, this is not standard or expected. If you’ve worked with a gazillion editors lately, you might decide to send gifts to clients whom you really enjoy working with, who assign you steady work, or who assigned you a billing threshold in the past year (or in the past two or three years combined).

Ideally you’d send something that is appreciated rather than immediately assessed as regiftable, such as:

  • Something local from your area. For example, I’ve sent rooibos tea in a tin, and South African wildlife calendars to editors in the US.
  • Something related to writing (such as a nice pen or notebook), or one of their other interests.
  • A gift card, especially if you know a particular chain that the editor favors.

Snail mail takes time

The physicality of a paper card stands out from the ElfYourselves and memes that will help your smartphone ring in the new year. I’m not even up to feeling Bah Hambug in October, when I need to send things abroad without spending exponentially more on postage than what’s inside.

Depending on when you’re reading this, you might be able to still make it … or you might want to put a to-do on your calendar for October or November.

I’m off to the post office.

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