What are you giving at the office this holiday?

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Why not make the most famous Mail Carrier work harder this season? Consider sending a thoughtful card and a generous charitable donation.

The sitcom Cheers made mail carrier Cliff Clavin a cultural icon.  Clavin complained he had less beer drinking around the holidays because the mail volume encroached on his bar time.

I’m happy to say my mailbox was packed full today!  Cliff Clavin would really be annoyed. Underneath a fresh coat of snow was a joyful bundle of holiday mail, delivered by a Minnesota Clavin. On the walk up the driveway I tossed aside magazines, catalogs and coupon mailers, eagerly sorting through colorful cards and letters.

Don’tcha just love real mail!? You know, handwriting on an envelope that’s been sealed with saliva and finished with a real stamp (we don’t have to lick stamps anymore.) I grinned as I saw Iowa, Arizona and South Dakota on return address labels. Real mail is one of my favorite parts of the holidays.

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Most of the year, my favorite letter opener is lonely.

When I get real mail at my office, I use a pewter letter opener with the word: IMAGINE engraved into the handle.  It was a holiday gift in the early 1990s from one of my favorite colleagues at Padilla Speer Beardsley. (For the benefit of my 17 year old daughter, that was before e-mail, snap chat, Facebook and text messaging.) In the olden days, we actually did business with envelopes with stamps.

Fast forward to the modern era, where gifting at the office can be tricky. There are so many idiosyncratic policies and sensitivities. So, if you know your boss likes beer, can you actually give her a six pack at the office? And if you happen to work at the company that invented the board game CLUE, isn’t a letter opener considered a murder weapon in the hands of Mrs. White?  We can’t be too careful…

As my letter opener gets more and more lonely every year, I am reflecting on the collection of gifts from clients, colleagues and supervisors I’ve received. Over 28 years, the dollar value has to be several thousand dollars in trinkets and food. In retrospect, what I’ve enjoyed most are the cards.

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What mailbox are you going to fill with holiday cheer?

Let’s be real: we are amazingly privileged and wealthy!  Do you need anymore trinkets or candies?  There are so many people down the street who would love to read a blog on an iPad, Blackberry or laptop and ponder what they will be giving for holiday gifts.  Let’s challenge each other to simplify: send cards this year and radiate goodness through generous gifts of cash to worthy charities.  That’s what really works.

Good leaders make a habit of examining what needs refining in their business rituals. And they invest in the simplest of pleasures to multiply goodness for the common good.

Send me a note: what charity do you think Cliff Clavin would appreciate delivering a check to on your behalf this year? I will personally choose the most compelling and send along a card.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

4 Comments

  1. Jeff Prouty on December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I think Cliff would appreciate/enjoy delivering a check to support our returning veterans.   Their commitment in Iraq/Afghanistan should continue to be honored.  Jeff Prouty



  2. Jeff Prouty on December 11, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I think Cliff would appreciate/enjoy delivering a check to support our returning veterans.   Their commitment in Iraq/Afghanistan should continue to be honored.  Jeff Prouty



  3. Brittany Johnson on December 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    This is a great post. It’s so true. I think that the gifts of those trinkets, food, etc. is all in thoughtfulness and good meaning. However, with a demand for time and a culture that wants to get it done faster and easier, our thoughtfulness can turn into generic, impersonal gifts. 

    I think Clavin would appreciate a gift to the American Cancer Society – to the fight for a cure!



  4. Brittany Johnson on December 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

    This is a great post. It’s so true. I think that the gifts of those trinkets, food, etc. is all in thoughtfulness and good meaning. However, with a demand for time and a culture that wants to get it done faster and easier, our thoughtfulness can turn into generic, impersonal gifts. 

    I think Clavin would appreciate a gift to the American Cancer Society – to the fight for a cure!



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