(along with America. Oof!)
from Chicago Tribune
If it seems like you’re getting fewer holiday cards this year, don’t worry. Chances are it has nothing to do with your popularity.
The practice of sending Christmas cards is fading, collateral damage of the digital age.
After experiencing slowing growth since 2005, Christmas card sales declined in 2009. While the drop was slight, 0.4 percent, according to research firm Mintel International Group, evidence is building that the next generation of correspondents is unlikely to carry on the tradition with the same devotion as their parents.
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.
“People are up to date all the time on Facebook,” said Kit Yarrow, a Golden Gate University professor who studies the 20- and 30-somethings of the Generation Y culture. “Gen Yers are notorious for not sending thank you notes and not RSVPing. I just think that method of communication is foreign to them. And that doesn’t bode well for the future of holiday cards.”
Americans sent more than 1.8 billion Christmas cards through the mail last year, according to greeting card industry statistics. That figure is expected to drop to 1.5 billion this holiday season. Facebook, for its part, passed the 500 million member milestone in July.
A British businessman is credited with creating the Christmas card in 1843 — as a way to save time. Too busy to write a personal holiday greeting, Henry Cole hired a well-known London artist to design a card he could send to all his acquaintances, according to a version of the story recounted by greeting card maker Hallmark Cards Inc. Louis Prang, a German immigrant, is said to have brought the Christmas card tradition to America in 1875, printing a card depicting Killarney roses and the words Merry Christmas.
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Admittedly, my Christmas card is way late this year and will likely land in mailboxes on the east coast just before New Years. I still send them and enjoy getting them-including the long winded “this is what we did last year” family letter. We’ve received half number of cards than we did last year and I wonder if we’ll get any next year. My little Christmas card basket is rather empty this year- yours? Dang you Facebook.