Christmas cards: a dying phenomenon

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In the year 1843, a civil servant in the United Kingdom by the name of Sir Henry Cole, worked as an assistant keeper in the ‘Public Record Office’ that we know today as the post office.

With assistance from his friend, John Horsley, who was an artist, Cole came up with the first Christmas card. It was designed and sold for 1 Shilling.

Back then, and even in the early 2000s, the annual Christmas card exchange was a cherished way to keep in touch with loved ones, overseas-based relatives, distant friends, businesses and associates.

But in recent years, there has been a decline in the use of Christmas cards.

Some account the decline to the increase of postal rates and stamp prices. But this hardly has an effect on the outcome that one is witnessing to date. A desire to save when there are modern amenities like the email is what is perceived to be the main factor. A quick quirky e-card can be designed, customized and sent in a few minutes, all with no cost. The computer and the internet has made it way too easy for us.

There is also the issue of the impact on the environment. Although this point is not profoundly used and bandied about, there are some persons who would not support the purchasing of Christmas cards due to deforestation.

Furthermore, a YouGovsurvey conducted by Oxfam states that almost one in five people think cards are no longer an important part of Christmas, with 13 percent of those respondents planning to send online and email greetings instead. As a result, card retailers are left with the option of lower priced cards and bulking packs.

With today’s busy lifestyles, leaving less time for maintaining long Christmas card lists, it’s no wonder that people would prefer to send a quick Christmas greeting from their mobile phones, even attaching a funny gif.

But why should we end such a great tradition?

A physical card is a constant reminder to someone that you had them in thought over the festive period.  It represents effort, which is something scarcely found in these modern times. Nothing beats the feeling of getting something in the mail, but a card with a warm personalized greeting and a hand written letter is a heartfelt classic. That is all it takes to brighten up someone’s day and warm their heart.  And that joy is part and parcel of the spirit of the festive season and it should never be underestimated.

Article Categories:
Christmas · Issue 29 · Publication

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