While there is well over a week to go until the last posting dates for Christmas cards (Friday 20 December for first class, Wednesday 18 December for second class), card stockists up and down the country and not leaving anything to chance, pulling out the stops in this all important festive run-up.
Last Sunday (December 8) saw local Stoke Newington retailers in North London, including independent card retailer and publisher, Earlybird Designs and fellow card indie The Ark, join together to create ‘A Very Stokey Christmas’ event.
Heidi Early, co-owner of Earlybird Designs, who helped organise the initiative told PG Buzz, that the event has been months in the planning. “We normally hold a late night shopping event in December but we decided that this year we would devote a whole day to promoting Christmas shopping in the town.”
A whole host of activities took place in all of the shops and cafes ranging from prosecco and mince pies to candle dipping and a Christmas jumper competition. There was also be a Santa’s grotto outside the local fire station, with one of the fire fighters dressed up as Santa.
In addition there was a huge raffle raising money for three charities – Hackney Quest (which supports young people); Solace (which supports a local women’s refuge) and the Winter Toy Appeal (which supports local children who do not receive Christmas presents).
Plus, various local choirs sang with musicians entertaining shoppers and everyone welcome to join in the community (fake) snowball fight.
Added to this Earlybird has been running a children’s ‘design a Christmas card’ competition themed ‘A Very Stokey Christmas’,” confirmed Heidi. “We will then ask our customers to vote for their favourites, and we will subsequently have the winning design printed as a card range to sell in the shop for Christmas 2020.”
Fellow retailer Jo Georgiou, owner of The Ark is full of praise for the A Stokey Christmas event. “Anything that gets the community involved in supporting their local independents is fantastic, and this is a great initiative. There’s so much negativity around that something like this gets people feeling optimistic and positive,” says Jo.
Local shoppers were also able to take part in the ‘Church Street trail’ by going into shops and cafes and answering a question related to the business.
Meanwhile, down in Petworth in West Sussex, Sally Matson, owner of award-winning card shop Red Card, has spearheaded an innovative window display project in her neck of the woods that has definitely put shoppers in the festive mood.
As deputy chair of the Petworth Business Association, Sally’s first project was the Christmas window displays. “I decided to get every shop to select a carol or song to theme their window on and then had them all printed with the same border and font to link all the shops. The town looks so beautiful!” said Sally, who selected White Christmas for her shop’s theme. With her November trade up 17%, Sally has high hopes that this spending flurry will continue right through until Christmas.
Last Friday (December 6) department store Elys of Wimbledon (part of the Morleys Group) even offered to write shoppers Christmas cards for them – and in a beautiful calligraphic style no less!
As a preamble to its ‘personalised weekend’, the Wimbledon department store collaborated with Woodmansterne to offer shoppers buying a Woodmansterne or Proper Mail Co card the opportunity to have their messages and envelopes written in calligraphy by Woodmansterne’s talented designer Beth Lewton.
As Kate Nelligan, card buyer for Elys (and the Morley group), told PG Buzz: “This all adds to the specialness of sending cards, be it at Christmas or throughout the year. It has been good to see shoppers coming with several cards they would like to receive the special treatment from Beth.”
As Kate Leach, marketing manager of Woodmansterne added: “It was a lovely opportunity to talk to consumers, who seem in agreement that sending a card generates three times more happiness than any other form of communication.”
Top: Heidi (second left) and Dominic Early, owners of Earlybird Designs with some of their shop team in festive mode.