Christmas Cards Go Virtual – Well, Except for Mine
Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Due to a pre-Christmas family vacation, I sent my Christmas cards out late: Yesterday, actually, holding my breath and hoping they got there as I placed them in the mailbox.
When I woke this morning and checked my email, I found a friend’s virtual annual Christmas card, photos attached, snippets from the year securely embedded in a Yahoo message. I wondered why I didn’t make the transition, particularly this year with so much going on. I could have skipped the photo cards I purchased from a popular online photo company and sent an email with an attachment instead. It would be easy, quick, and, most of all, free – which of course a thrifty mom loves.
But I just can’t do it.
That may be because I’m old, raised before the age of Twitter and Facebook and, well, I hate to admit this, the Internet in every home. Those younger than I who spend most of their time virtually connecting with others may have an easier time transitioning to email Christmas cards. In fact, the Postal Service expects less snail mail Christmas cards this year; 1 billion less than in 2010.
The card industry is not dead, though, expecting to see as many Christmas cards sent snail mail as last year. Yet using the computer to connect over the holidays is on the rise, and who knows what may happen in the next five years?
For me, there is just something about opening up my mailbox that month before Christmas and watching them roll in: Christmas cards of various shapes and sizes, with photos of friends and family attached. I actually skip up the steps when I get one, ripping open the envelope before I hit the front door. I make my husband play guessing games with the photographs of children. “Do you remember who this is? Oh my gosh, look how big he or she has gotten!” Then I place the cards on the mantel and when my mom visits for the holidays I point to each card and make her guess too.
Perhaps they wish I would switch to online greeting cards!
For me, the cost is not much of an issue since I don’t have a huge list of people to whom I send cards. I can order under 30 cards and cover most friends and family. I purchase them from wherever I can get the lowest cost, including shipping: Shutterfly, Snapfish, Walgreens, Walmart. The cost of stamps – about a book, for $9 – is worth the joy I’ll experience when I receive a card from the person to whom I’m sending one.
At the end of the year, I pack up the Christmas cards with the decorations, but not before comparing the cards to those of Christmas past.
I just can’t give up this card sending holiday tradition for a more technological one, despite the cost.