With so much to play for in these last few weeks of Christmas trading, gave publishers, retailers, trade suppliers, Royal Mail and Isle of Man Post the extra gumption to participate in the GCA’s Festive Friday initiative (which took place last Friday, 27 November) by writing and send their Christmas cards, ensuring that the first wave of this year’s Christmas cards arrive just as lockdown eases in England.
One avid supporter of Festive Friday is House of Cards, which comprises six card shops in the Home Counties retailer. This year the retail group, co-owned by Miles Robinson and Nigel Williamson, really got behind the card sending activity – and posted 1,073 Christmas cards that were written by the HOC team to their friends and family, with the postage costs generously covered by the retailer. “Obviously this year, due to Lockdown 2, our staff had a little more time to write cards – with a splendid result. I hope it encourages the recipients to get out to the shops and buy/send Christmas cards from tomorrow!” Miles told PG Buzz today. “Festive Friday is a brilliant GCA initiative. It definitely works in prompting the sending of Christmas cards, which this year will be even more warmly received than ever before,” adds Miles.
While social-distancing restrictions precluded the usual communal festive Christmas card writing gatherings in publishers’ offices from taking place, it certainly did put a stop to the Festive Friday fun.
The Art File, Pigment, Belly Button, Caroline Gardner, Emma Bryan Design and designer Emily Hauck, among many others took to social media to share their respective activities.
As Pigment’s posts show, Festive Friday provided a great excuse to pull on a Christmas jumper or festive fancy dress and put pen to paper.
Even before she became president of the GCA, Rachel Hare, founder of Belly Button was a big fan of Festive Friday, but this year the publisher further widened its activities to include customers, working with The Christies Charity as well as reaching out to the consumer.
“We have been busy this week on the run up to Festive Friday,” summed up Michelle Hindle, Belly Button’s sales manager. Not only has the company made sure it has sent a handwritten Christmas card to all of its retail customers, but it has made up 50 Christmas goodie bags that are being offered with the donations going to The Christie Charitable Fund that is affiliated to the Manchester Hospital of the same name, that Belly Button has supported for a number of years. Each goodie bag contains £125 worth of single cards, packs of cards, gift bags, tissue paper, roll wrap, but are being offered for a £30 donation from Christie’s online shop.
Rachel also ran a giveaway on her own social media Instagram and Facebook giving away another 50 goodie bags. “I feel this is really important this year with what’s happened and mental health issues that people will be suffering. I hope this gesture will cheer people up,” says Rachel.
Another publisher whose altruistic nature came to fore during the Festive Friday run up was Emma Bryan, namesake of Emma Bryan Designs.
At the start of last week Emma Bryan donated a whole bunch of cards to help spread some festive cheer among veterans at the Royal Star & Garter care home in Surbiton. Having been quarantined for several days, the residents got stuck in writing their cards on Festive Friday.
Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
As Emma, who started her card company last year (and is in the finals of The Henries) commented “My job as a greeting card designer has never felt more important than this year where connection has been so crucial during the lockdowns, so it gives me great pleasure to donate these greeting cards so that the residents of the Royal Star & Garter could enjoy writing to family and friends on Festive Friday.”
The home’s activities manager Raquel Pena Aristizabal said: “The residents thought Emma’s designs were beautiful, and really appreciated the donation. They enjoyed writing to their friends and relatives.”
Top: The branding for this year’s Festive Friday was created by The Art File.