Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guest Post–Writing a Holiday Business Letter–Nikolas Baron from

Writing a Holiday Business Letter

Think about Atmosphere:

Do you work at a company where most of the staff is under 35 and frequents happy hour? Or maybe you work at a company where it’s common for everyone to work weekends. It could be that you work at a company that has a good mix of work hard, play hard. Wherever you happen to work, it’s essential to remember the vibe and tone of the workplace. If you send out a quirky memo and your team is more serious, the staff could start taking you less seriously. If you work in an upbeat and modern atmosphere and send out a very somber and ho-hum email, it could make people wonder if they signed up for the right place or if the business is in turmoil.

The atmosphere of the business dictates where the letter or memo should head. The writer of the memo could be the CEO, head of HR, or an immediate boss, but they must remember the letter needs to fit in with the type of relationship the co-workers have. As it is holiday time, there should be some lightness and joy added into the letter even if you work in a tight environment. Always end on a positive note and wish your co-workers well as they head off towards their long holiday.

Say What You Need to Say:

When I write a holiday memo to my co-workers, I think about how long it needs to be, what I need to say, and how I should say it. If I was writing a holiday letter to family, it would include personal details I wouldn’t want to share with my co-workers. If you work at a small company and are comfortable sharing more personal information, that’s fine, but typically in a larger company it’s best to keep the information general. Sending an extremely long memo, more than a page, wastes everyone’s time. You spend extra time writing the letter and then your co-workers, who are excited to have some time off with family, don’t spend the extra time to read the entire memo. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Don’t add extra fluff just because you want to reach a certain length.

It’s the Holidays! Joy to the World!:

Holiday letters should be fun at their very core. You want to wish everyone a good break and safe return, let them know if there are any vacation or holiday rules, and what the status of the business is at the close of the year and beginning of next year. If you do not have access to all this information, at least make sure that the letter ensures the success of the business and co-workers. Maybe you have a holiday party coming up; this would be a great opportunity to highlight the date, time, and events of the party. Maybe you know of some exciting plans you’d like to share for the upcoming year. Keep the excitement going throughout the week.

A holiday memo is supposed to keep spirits up in the last week before everyone takes a long vacation. It’s intention is to wish everyone well, share joy, and provide useful information. Using a holiday memo to chastise, reprimand, or lie about the business’s prospects not only ruins the morale of the business, but it doesn’t allow people to leave on a good note. Above all the memo should remind everyone why they’re excited to see family, relax, and enjoy returning to work.

But…it’s Still a Business:

Although joviality is a slice of the holiday letter pie, a certain amount of correctness is necessary. Regularly proofreading your letter can be critical, especially if you are in a high-ranking position. It’s important that everyone knows you’re competent and knowledgeable even during a time of fun. As not everyone is exceptional at proofreading, I like to suggest using an online proofreading resource such as Grammarly ( Grammarly can help identify errors Microsoft Word misses, can help suggest synonyms, corrects grammar and punctuation errors, and can proofread for free.

You want the letter to be easy to read and enjoyable. If it’s riddled with errors, confidence in the business and your writing ability will be questioned. If nobody is taking the time to check over a simple holiday letter, what about everything else that’s going out of the business? Taking the time to proofread will clean up your letter, allow you to add more joy if the letter is too serious, and make sure you’ve congratulated the business and its employees on another great year.

By Nikolas Baron




Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading

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