It’s all about feel-good Festive Friday

Engagement builds for GCA’s initiative to send Christmas cards early

 

Eyes down for the annual card-sending frenzy – and the GCA’s Festive Friday initiative to kick off the yearly Christmas greeting card exchange has become even more important.

With the well-publicised Royal Mail strikes disrupting services, sending your Christmas cards early is vital so the event on 2 December is a great place to help people forget Black Friday, and make it all about feel-good Festive Friday.

“The focus is on buy and send Christmas cards early,” said GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson, with the blog and downloadable Festive Friday toolkit available on the association’s website so retailers and everyone in the industry can join in.

Above: House of Cards (left) is joining in, you can download your own poster (centre) and there’s also advice (right) on the GCA website
Above: House of Cards (left) is joining in, you can download your own poster (centre) and there’s also advice (right) on the GCA website

House of Cards, the Home Counties greeting card retail group co-owned by Miles Robinson and Nigel Williamson, had no hesitation in fully engaging with the initiative – their team would have been incredibly disappointed if they hadn’t as it’s become something of a company tradition that the postage is covered for all staff who have their Christmas cards written and ready for Festive Friday.

“It’s a brilliant GCA initiative and one that we’ve participated in since it launched several years ago,” Miles told PG Buzz. “We offer to pay the postage for all our staff’s Christmas cards, the only stipulation being they have to have them ready to post by the Festive Friday date. We’ve seen this benefit become more and more popular over the years and this year we will expect to be posting well over 1,000 Christmas cards on Festive Friday.

“We get asked by several members of staff if we’re running it every year and this year, with so much pressure on people’s purses, it will be even more beneficial to our team!”

The BBC has also run a story to suggest sending Christmas cards early – Royal Mail’s advertised last posting dates are 19 December with second class stamps, and 21 December for first class but, with industrial action already due on 24, 25, 30 November and 1 December and previous strikes having halted many deliveries, the quicker the cards are in the post, the more likely that are to arrive in time.

Above: The front and back of the GCA Christmas card design for this year
Above: The front and back of the GCA Christmas card design for this year

And the GCA’s PR maestro PR Direct has already instigated a consumer press campaign. As director Sarah Seltzer explained: “Receiving Christmas cards reminds people to send theirs, so Festive Friday starts the annual exchange of Christmas cards! It’s a real feel-good activity at a time when things are tricky for many people.

“This year we’re looking to work with the media to spread the word among card lovers in general – with Royal Mail strikes and the need for a feel-good factor, we are encouraging everyone to buy and send their cards early.

“Why not have friends round for a cuppa and a slice of cake (or wine and nibbles) and write your cards together? Sit down with the kids and write the family’s cards, aiming to get them in the post on Festive Friday.”

Having achieved great consumer press and influencer traction with the recent Thinking Of You Week, Sarah has already clinched some support for Festive Friday, with more to follow, including Good Housekeeping magazine running an online competition offering five prizes of £50-worth of Christmas cards.

The GCA’s Amanda Fergusson and Adriana Lovesy, together with PG Buzz’s Jakki Brown, embraced the Festive Friday feeling early, spending time writing Christmas cards to each of the association’s members, with the postage costs kindly sponsored by Isle Of Man Post Office.

Above: (from left) GCA’s Adriana Lovesy and Amanda Fergusson with PG’s Jakki Brown preparing the GCA Christmas cards for a Festive Friday send
Above: (from left) GCA’s Adriana Lovesy and Amanda Fergusson with PG’s Jakki Brown preparing the GCA Christmas cards for a Festive Friday send

This year’s GCA Christmas cards have been designed by David Nichols-Rice, owner of Ricicle Cards, with the printing covered by Windles.

“Ahh, it’s the best feeling!” commented Ricicle’s David. “Having been a finalist in The Henries and then discovering one of my designs was going to the GCA Christmas card this year, makes me feel very honoured – ecstatic in fact! It’s been such an exciting few months for Ricicle!”

Above: The last time Queen Elizabeth II’s silhouette will appear on festive stamps
Above: The last time Queen Elizabeth II’s silhouette will appear on festive stamps

This year is also the very last time the late Queen Elizabeth II’s silhouette will feature on a festive stamp, as the six-strong art deco-style collection depicting moments from the Nativity was already in design before Her Majesty’s death in September.

Royal Mail worked with Kent-based artist Katie Ponder to create the set and each stamp has a barcode which customers can scan to watch a festive video of Shaun The Sheep – all new stamps have a barcode and there is a scheme to allow people to swap old stamps for the new version.

The late Queen took a keen interest in stamps, she was patron of the world’s oldest stamp society, the Royal Philatelic Society London, from 1952, keeping up a royal tradition as her grandfather, George V, became the society’s patron in 1910.

Top: Join in Festive Friday, with this imagery from GCA member Sarah Best, in collaboration with The London Studio

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