Luckily for me, peak card-sending time—a.k.a., the holidays—is here. If you want to get in on the game, check out the list of nine people in your professional life who’d love to get a card, templates included.
1. Your Boss
Hope you have a fantastic time [insert holiday plans]. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you—it’s been a pleasure working with you for the last [X months/years]. Not only have you taught me [lesson you’ve learned from boss], but you’ve also been incredibly [helpful, patient, inspiring, responsive, supportive]. I’m really looking forward to continuing to learn from you!
Happy holidays, and thank you again,
2. Your Former Boss
Sending a holiday card to a former boss is a great way to maintain that relationship. You never know when you’ll need a reference or a referral—or even a job at your old company!
Happy holidays! I hope you’re doing well, and congratulations on [recent work achievement]. Thank you again for making my time with [former company] so great. If you’ve got time after the end-of-the-year craziness, let’s [grab coffee, chat on the phone, get lunch] and catch up! I’d love to hear how everything’s going with you.
3. Your Co-workers
Cap the number of co-worker holiday cards you write at 20. If you’re at a small startup, that could include everyone in the company; if you’re at a bigger business, that could just be the people in your department. But anything over 20 is craziness.
Happy holidays, [Name]! It’s been really great [working with you/getting to know you] over the past [X months/years], and I’m looking forward to continuing in 2016.
4. Your Former Co-workers
There’s no need to write cards for all your old co-workers, but if there were any you were particularly close to or worked with frequently, it’s a nice gesture. Plus, if in the future you reach out for a favor, it won’t seem too out-of-the-blue.
Wishing you a happy and festive holiday season! I hope [company name] is treating you well and that everything in [department] is great. I miss our time [working together, checking out local coffee shops together, hanging out at company events, forwarding each other funny memes]. Please reach out if you’re ever [in my neck of the woods, available for a coffee date].
5. Your Mentor(s)
This category includes anyone who gives you career advice on a semi-regular or regular basis. It could be a slightly more experienced colleague, a professional in your industry, a mid- or senior-level manager, or a relative. While you should consistently be showing your gratitude for this person’s help, it’s especially nice to do so during the holidays.
[Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa] and Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your guidance and support. It’s wonderful to know that when I have a question about [topic] or [topic], you’re just a [phone call, email, a few doors] away. When I was trying to decide what to do about [dilemma], your advice was invaluable.
I hope that one day I can repay you for all the help you’ve given me! In the meantime, thank you again.
6. Your Role Model
A holiday card’s a great way to put yourself on your role model’s radar. Trust me, the person will be surprised and flattered by your nice message.
Note: Now isn’t the time to ask for a favor or informational interview—it’ll seem too self-serving. Wait until the new year, when the holiday rush is over.
Happy holidays! I’m a [job title] at [employer name], and I’ve been following your career for the past couple [months/years]. I just want to reach out and let you know that you’re incredibly inspiring to me: After all, you [reason why the person is your role model]. I look forward to keeping up with your future ventures.
7. Your Direct Reports
Want to make your direct reports even more loyal to you than they already are? Write ’em a card! (Bonus points if you also include a nice gift.)
I hope you have a great (and not too chilly) holiday season! It has been a privilege to work with you these last [X months/years]. Not only do you [always come up with creative solutions, work really hard, maintain a positive attitude no matter what], but you’re also [a team player, a natural leader, a fantastic motivator]. I’m lucky to have you. Can’t wait to see what we accomplish in 2016.