Status update: Merry ChristmasPublished 11:07pm Wednesday, December 22, 2010
If you’ve noticed your annual bulk of Christmas letters, cards and family photos has slimmed down in recent years, it’s not your imagination.
Mirroring the declining trend in general mail delivery, Christmas season mail is drastically down — Christmas card sales slowed by $17 million between 2005 and 2009, market researcher Mintel International reported recently.
As younger generations grow up with social networking as a means of receiving updates from family, older generations’ idea of social networking is letter-writing and card-giving.
In fact, experts attribute the global drop in card sales in part to social networking.
You already know how Aunt Merna’s health is doing; you’ve seen more than your fill of your former high school classmate’s new baby pictures; the in-laws have bombarded your in-box with requests for visits.
Typing up a letter on stationery or heading out to get family photos developed for cards seems almost redundant.
Hallmark estimates 1.5 billion cards will be sent this Christmas, down from before the recession by about 300 million.
A Hallmark spokesperson pointed out that number is still three times the number of Facebookers.
Another factor in the decline of season’s greetings could be that people just want to save the money, Hallmark suggested, pointing to e-cards as an alternative for sending holiday cheer. It’s easier on the environment because e-cards save trees.
My husband and I moved three states away, got married and bought a house in the past year, and we still didn’t bother with sending out cards.
I don’t know if it was a conscious decision or not, but I guess we can say we didn’t take up room on anyone’s already cluttered fridge (or garbage, if we’re going to be honest about Christmas mail).
Although in some ways I long for the days of the letter, card or photo — especially the thoughtful and comical ones, not so much the bragging or cheesy ones — I know that sending one now means more than ever before.
A grandmother or parent will especially appreciate the sentiment when fewer and fewer line the kitchen counter or fireplace mantle.
It’s unexpected, personalized and more special.
I hope our readers receive mailboxes — and in-boxes — full of whatever they are hoping for this holiday.
Katie Rohman is managing editor of the Niles Daily Star, Cassopolis Vigilant, Edwardsburg Argus and Off the Water. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.