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Ok, so this is “My” top 20 not “The” top 20. I am not sure how you would establish “The” top 20, given the subjective nature of holiday greetings. Regardless, I have attempted to provide as balanced a survey as possible, and do admit, in advance, that I have a newly discovered predisposition towards Christmas carol-based greetings.

Traditional holiday greeting cards represent a time-held tradition, if not a classic and irreplaceable form of personal marketing. Most people still send a few and receive a few in the conventional mail. And I personally think they will be around for years to come, given that sincere, warm feeling that you get when your write to, or open up a Christmas greeting card from, an old friend.

Having said all of that, it is also clear that digital greeting cards have become an expected norm in our personal and business lives, and in fact, the challenge now is to have your card noticed and stand out amount the many we receive. Across the board, college and university staffers have quite enthusiastically embraced this challenge and particularly now, as digital channels and production capabilities expand, produce some really amazing, (and effective), digital greeting cards. Digital cards are a great way to drive traffic to your website, build your brand and feed your registration funnel. If optimized properly, they can also have a positive effect on your SEO rankings. Make sure you speak with your SEM and SEO folks as you are planning for next year to make sure you get the best bang for your buck!

In form, holiday greetings range widely from the short heartfelt messages, to animations, to grande video productions with hundreds of participants.  Regardless of where they fall on this broad spectrum, they all share the best wishes of their creators for a happy holiday. And that’s a good thing.

Needing a bit of a holiday break from the technical analytics or marketing oriented posts that I usually write, I decided a survey of digital holiday greetings in higher ed might be just be what I needed to find that holiday spirit. For an explanation of how I selected these greetings for my list, see an explanation at the end of the post.

So here it is — my personal Top 20 Higher Ed Holiday Greetings of 2012!

My Most Favourite Holiday Greeting of 2012 Eckerd College

Best Christmas Carol-based Greetings

Columbia College (The First Noel)

YouTube video

University of Maryland  (Let it Snow)

YouTube video

Murray State University (Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer)

YouTube video

Lethbridge College (Frosty the Snowman)

YouTube video

Mohawk College (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas)

YouTube video

Best Short Video Greetings Columbia College

Xavier University

YouTube video
Best Use of Mascot in a Greeting
University of Oregon
YouTube video
Longwood University
YouTube video

Best Advent Calendar Gonzaga University 

Best Pinterest-based Greeting University of Virgina Digital Services

Best Christmas Surprise in a Greeting

Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College

YouTube video

Best Campus Promo-style Greeting

Vincennes University

YouTube video

Best Annual Recap-style Greeting

Washington College

YouTube video

Michigan State University

YouTube video

Best Flashmob-style Greeting

Dean College

YouTube video

Best Simple Animated Card Greeting

Iowa State University, College of Business

YouTube video

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Best Short, Sincere and Heartfelt Message

Ottawa University

YouTube video

I know there are many other really great greetings out there that I have not seen but I feel pretty good about my approach for this effort. I reviewed the top 10 Google Search Engine Results pages (SERPS) for “happy holidays university” and “happy holidays college” (Yes, I actually looked at 200 holiday greeting links). The categories were created by me and are arbitrary. The order in which they appear does not indicate any specific ranking. If your school’s greeting did not make the top 10 Google pages for these searches, chances are I did not see it.

My congratulations to everyone involved in producing these holiday greetings. Great work! If your favourite 2012 holiday greeting is not on the list, we would like to hear about it, so  please drop it into the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Holidays from Higher Education Marketing