by Angela Lovell

Dec 10, 2011

Christmas Cards Are Not Dead Yet

In this era of iPhones and social media you would imagine that most young people would prefer e-cards or a quick text message to convey or receive holiday greetings from friends and family. Not so.

A new survey on behalf of Canada Post shows that 9 out of 10 young Canadians prefer holiday cards in the mail.

Well it is a very time honoured tradition. The very first Christmas greeting card caused quite a stir. Produced in 1843 by John Calcott Horsley for Sir Henry Cole, it depicted a family enjoying Christmas celebrations and lifting their glasses (presumably full of Christmas cheer) in a toast. "The scene greatly shocked temperance workers who quickly denounced it," says the Canadian Heritage Information Network.

Check out this interesting You Tube video about one of the few copies preserved at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. 

Talking of famous Christmas cards.

A painting by Joseph Farquharson, the image of which was one of the most popular Christmas card pictures used by Hallmark Cards, sold for £145,000 ($230,000 $CDN) by Lyon & Turnbull Auctions in their Fine Paintings auction on 3rd December 2008. The painting entitled ‘Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches’ was sold to a private Scottish buyer. He said “It is one of the most beautiful paintings I have seen.”

My Christmas cards cost considerably less and, the frugality continues as I always save previous cards received to reuse as Christmas gift tags. You can make a whole bunch of really neat things from old greeting cards. This great post at Squidoo has some great ideas (my favourite is the little basket - really cool).

Overall, 75% of Canadians are planning to send an average of 20 cards this year, compared to 80% sending 19 cards in 2010. The majority (87%)of young Canadians (between 18 and 24) indicated they preferred receiving holiday cards in the mail with two thirds suggesting it had much stronger meaning than an electronic alternative. Three quarters of them were planning to send cards in the mail. Comparatively, Canadians between 35 and 44 admitted that they would most likely send cards electronically, mainly due to lack of time.

Those who received greeting cards admitted that they either displayed them (32%) then recycled them (25%), saved them as keepsakes (25%), use them for crafts (8%)or tree ornaments/gift tags (6%). 14% of Canadians said that in the past two years they sent holiday greeting cards to someone only after they received one.

Nevertheless there are oodles free of e-card sites out there and they are particularly useful for relatives and friends who live overseas (as long as they have Internet access of course). I find that I tend to send e-cards only to people who send them to me and still write plenty of real ones too. Although they have occasionally been known to show up in mailboxes a few days after Christmas - oops!

But if e-card it must be, one of my personal favourite sites is Care2com, which gives a donation to charity for e-cards sent. You can personalize them too - this year I put my head on scrooge and sent them to people who would absolutely believe that this is my true persona.

©2011, Angela Lovell.

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