Are Greeting Cards a Thing of the Past?

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Alden Jewell

This year, we emailed an electronic letter reporting on our family events and offering best wishes to all the friends and relations to whom in the past we had snail-mailed Jewish New Year greeting cards. We felt guilty about switching away from the time-intensive activity of buying, signing and addressing snail-mail cards, and worried that the email would signal others that we viewed our time as too valuable to spend on a card. We don’t.

We’ve noticed that we are receiving fewer snail-mail greeting cards, both now and at the Christmas/New Year season too, so our behavior is fairly typical. Is the social norm of sending greeting cards breaking down? Or is it just substitution toward the less time-intensive form of greeting? Since I don’t think we’re atypical, I have to ask: Why the trend?

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  1. Josh says:

    I have mailed cards for years, but recently my wife has found a new kind of way of sending a card. It’s called a Yard Card. A business sets up a greeting in someone’s yard and surprises the person on their birthday, anniversary, etc. We live in Mississippi and this idea isn’t really popular here yet. I bet as more and more people hear about this concept mailed cards will be a thing of the past. The Yard Cards are not very cheap if that’s what someone is looking for, but they are very personal and memorable. The website for the business we use is in case you have no idea what I’m talking about. They have a bunch of pictures up to help you understand.
    So, yes I think snail mail is a thing of the past. I also think emailed cards are a cop out and personally do not like recieving them. :)

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  2. Alastair says:

    Don’t get me wrong, but sending meaningless cards out to people you hardly ever see or speak to from one end of the year to the next only serves to profit the greetings card companies. It’s an automated response. We feel obligated to run through our address book A to Z taking care not to miss anyone out for fear that they might send us a card when we forget them. If you’re going to write to someone there are 364 other days in the year this can be done, or you can call, but that would involve in engaging with another person, which is not such a chore if you actually like that person. It’s like texting. Why text? Speed, convenience, avoid dialogue? It’s hardly fast for a fat handed person like me.
    Getting letters are nice. They’re personal, and mean quite a lot. Christmas cards, well maybe if it’s more than “Best wishes from all of us”.
    Is this the begining of the end for greetings cards? I expect so and I don’t really care. Why? Well I think younger successive generations will opt for the ‘e-version’ out of convenience and evolution will see to it that ‘hard copy’ cards are consigned to Room 101 along with Fondue Sets. Sad in a way that hand writing will suffer for the same reason, if we let it.
    Companies sending Christmas greetings cards are purely a commercial affair. It’s a Marketing activity and so it is to some extent the family Christmas greetings card.
    Write a letter if you’re going to write something, if not, call someone, and if you can’t do that, well, I suppose the next best thing is an e-mail and possibly the cheapest method of delivery.
    As for mass producing cards to send to your customers or your friends & family you never see or speak to, how about you just cut out the middle man, save on the recycling and give the money you would have spent on cards & stamps to a charity of your choice. Imagine that. We are more comfortable spending £100’s on stupid cards but would never dream of saying to heck with the cards and donating that money to some worthy cause.

    How about it?

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  4. Geezer says:

    OK you young wipper sanppers, answer me this – just how are you emailing your 70, 80 or 90 year old Mother, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather who don’t have a computer, smartphone or use email? Do you just forget about them and hope they enjoy their birthday or Mother’s day or Christmas, but don’t need to hear from you? Tell me now, just how do you facebook, or tweet with these folks?
    Come on, Tell me.

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