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People sending fewer holiday cards

With constant updates on social media, who needs an end-of-year message? Yet some folks see hope for paper cards.

Posted by Teresa Mears Thursday, December 09, 2010 4:32:35 PM

Back, oh, about a decade ago, I found the perfect holiday cards. But then I got busy, and I never sent them, so I put them away for next year. Next year came, and the next, and those cards are still sitting in a closet somewhere.


Sound familiar?

Between your excuses and mine, fewer people are sending Christmas cards. Holiday greetings on paper haven't yet gone the way of white gloves, but they are getting less popular, particularly among younger people. Some people, to save money or save paper, send e-mail greetings instead.


Writes Sandra M. Jones at the Chicago Tribune:

The rise of social networking, smart phones and Apple iPads is changing the way friends and family stay in touch, diminishing the Christmas card's long-standing role as the annual social bulletin.

If your friends and family have followed your little darlings' every success on Facebook, what's left to share?


Americans are expected to send 1.5 billion holiday cards this season, down from 1.8 billion last year, Jones reports, and the percentage of consumers buying holiday cards has dropped from 77% in 2005 to 62% in 2009.


Jennifer Grayson, The Huffington Post's Miss Eco Etiquette columnist, applauds the decline of paper holiday cards. She writes:

There's nothing that brings out my green grinch more than opening my mailbox to a stack of Season's Greetings.
To be sure, I'm enchanted at the sight of my far-flung friends and family and their collective broods dressed in matching reindeer suits, but all that paper! All those trees! And don't even get me started on the holiday cards from my bank/dentist's office/homeowners insurance agent. One glance and they go straight to the recycling bin.

She notes that even The Emily Post Institute says it's OK to e-mail holiday greetings.


If you're counting your pennies (and who isn't these days?) 44 cents per card can really add up. And posting multiple cute photos of your kids on Facebook is free. It's not hard to understand why people are turning away from snail mail holiday cards.


Mir Kamin, writing at BlogHer, is torn.

If we're truly important to each other, you probably read my blog, and/or we're friends on Facebook, and/or we e-mail on a semi-regular basis. …
On the other hand: Holiday cards aren't so much about communication as they are about ritual and sentiment. … Taking the time to send a physical card, to address the envelope, to purchase the stamp and get it mailed, these are all purposeful gestures that evoke a simpler, possibly more sincere time, especially when so few people bother anymore.

Printed Christmas cards were actually created to save time, Jones reports, quoting Hallmark. The story is that Henry Cole, a British businessman, hired an artist to create a printed card for him to send because he was too busy to write personal holiday greetings.


With all the opportunities technology has given us to create unique and personalized cards, it seems a shame that the use of greeting cards is declining.


Several people interviewed by the Tribune believe social media may contribute to a return of printed holiday cards, at least for some people. Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, told Jones that people are feeling a need to connect beyond the electronic world. She said:

I think it's just a backlash to the virtual world. You may have 600 friends on Facebook, but really only 30 of them mean anything to you.

Do you send holiday cards, either via e-mail or snail mail? Would you like to?


More from MSN Money:

Tags: familyholidayholiday spendinglove and moneyTeresa Mears
12/10/2010 8:43 AM
I think its sad people dont take the time ..even just for
family.. to sit and address holiday "envelopes""powered by wordpress""leave a comment"-"no comments"..its like opening a little present. Just to read an email is boring..
so guess we can do away with art , museums , books, zoos, .....just clickSleepy
12/10/2010 8:02 AM
I got 10 free photo cards from Kodak (I think), I've decided those are the only Holiday cards I'm sending this year.
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