It’s the first week of November, and I’m already thinking about the end of the year. There are only 8 weeks left in 2019, which means that our marketing department is about to go full swing in end-of-year client appreciation, gift-giving, event hosting, and more.

Don’t have a trashy holiday marketing campaign!

I once heard a friend in the marketing industry describe our job as “making trash” – and when I think about the millions (billions? Gazillions?) of trade show tchotchkes that marketers have ordered, shipped, and handed out, just so they would go straight into the landfill, I feel my cheeks get a little hot.

The holidays are the conventional time of year to pause and give thanks to our clients, partners, vendors, and employees for all that they do to contribute to our industry and our business. We want our efforts to communicate our sincere gratitude, remind our constituents of our strong mutual connection, and shine a light on Paladino’s vision for the coming year.

Now before we start placing orders, I am going to pause to consider ways that we can have everything we want while also being good stewards of the environment.


Printed cards vs. e-cards

A lot of people do away with printed cards altogether. Honestly, there is still something special about receiving a card with a personal message. I also think that there are plenty of people who are perfectly happy to receive a festive e-card in their inbox. Here are three ways we handle cards to have a greener holiday:

  1. We split our mailing list between people who would appreciate a printed card and those who are happy to get an email.
  2. Rather than sending a traditional folded card, we are printing double-sided 5×7 postcards. These use less paper and weigh less, reducing the fuel required to transport them.
  3. When we do print, we print on recycled paper whenever possible.
  4. We triple check our database before sending the cards so that we minimize cards being returned as undeliverable.

Green Gifts

In the past, we’ve made charitable contributions on our clients’ behalf – and while that was certainly a socially responsible gift, our clients didn’t experience the same excitement that they do when they get something that they can use and enjoy. So now we give gifts.


In 2015 we committed to giving our clients something useful, and after a lot of exploration and consideration, we decided that Paladino would give a moleskin notebook. We customize the cover, so each year has its own design and message. Here are some of the ways that we minimize our carbon footprint through gift-giving:

  1. Give something useful so that our gifts don’t end up in the landfill or second-hand store
  2. Order the most sustainably printed moleskin we can find.
  3. Order them in plenty of time to avoid rush shipping – both to us and to our distribution list.
  4. Wrap the gifts in recycled and/or recyclable paper with minimal tape and ribbon.
  5. Review our database and update addresses before sending – this avoids the fuel that would be wasted delivering gifts to the wrong address, and then returning them to our office.

Green Parties

Parties are the best part of end-of-year and holiday celebrations. We have local team parties internally, and use this time to go to industry events, take clients out for a happy hour, and attend end-of-year meetups.


Here are some of the ways that we try to have greener gatherings:

  1. For team parties, we try to time them with trips that are already needed, that way we are taking one trip instead of two.
  2. We patronize restaurants and caterers that specialize in local organic food. The food tends to be awesome, and it’s important for these unconventional businesses to get support.
  3. We keep our celebrations close to the attendees to minimize car trips. We consult maps to make things as walkable as possible. In addition to being better for the environment, we find that attendees really appreciate simplicity.
  4. Email invitations have become ubiquitous, so the idea of an e-vite isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it’s what we do, and it has a smaller carbon footprint than print invites.
  5. If there are catering leftovers, we first distribute it for guests to take home. Everything else is composted. Compost is quite simple in our Seattle office but takes a bit more effort in DC.

What are your ideas? We are always learning and trying to do better! If you have any tips for a greener holiday marketing strategy, I want to hear about it!

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