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Virtual Christmas Greetings Getting Popular

Has technology changed how you send holiday greetings?

Facebook and other social media sites have changed the way many of us communicate with friends and family, especially those who live far away. How will you send your holiday greetings this year?

Email has moved from a business tool to a personal one, which has created a revolution in how we communicate that has already impacted the post office and stationery industry. In an instant we can send our greetings to our neighbor or to our cousin in Australia. But email feels like business communication still and it brings a formality no matter how many emoticons people add. We are trained to wince at email backgrounds or have them stripped by our mail servers. Including too many links or attachments can mean that the messages don’t reach our inboxes and if they do, they will be sharing an inbox with spam, work email and corporate newsletters. Of course, email can be a great way to communicate, so many of us will be receiving and sending our annual holiday letters via email.

Instant messages and texts will never replace a holiday card; they are more like a quick phone call or wave on the street. Teenagers who have grown up with texting may feel differently, but they are not the usual senders of cards relying instead on having their name signed on their parents’ messages.

Have Facebook, Twitter or Google+ become your favorite way to keep in touch? Does it mean that this is where we will go in the future to send our best wishes? I’ve found that Facebook messaging is a useful way to engage directly with my loved ones. Think of how Facebook has changed the way we keep up with each other’s birthdays. I appreciate the ability to send birthday wishes to my friends and even acquaintances. Does that mean we send fewer birthday cards?

E-cards seem to be a hybrid. They are a ‘green’ choice for sure—no paper waste or transportation contributing to greenhouse gases. Some of us love receiving e-cards or appreciate being able to send something last minute.

Is there something special about the time, effort and expense that go into holiday cards? Does the excitement of having a brightly colored envelope arriving in the mailbox make you feel warm inside? Does your holiday tradition of hanging cards as they arrive suffer when more and more greetings are virtual? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Connie Moser December 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM
Good topic, Jean! I have stopped sending paper cards, If I give a gift, I attach a card, but otherwise, all my greetings have gone electronic. I use an email program called "Incredimail" It gets the mail from my server and not only has greeting cards, it has sounds, animations, and animated cards. Years ago, we didn't have the luxury of long distance calls, e mail, text or skype and Christmas cards were often the only time we heard from friends far away. I still appreciate the people who do send cards, but I'm not sending them any more. It's hard to justify the costs involved and the time it takes, not to mention the ecological impact. (Yes, I do recycle, but it goes against my grain that I pay for the card and then I pay for recycling.) There's just so much to do during the holidays with the cleaning, baking, parties and gifts that are mostly fun. Cards became a chore I dreaded.
Ivette December 22, 2011 at 02:22 PM
This year I scanned our family card and emailed it to lots of people. We mailed 10 to the family that would want the picture. I love electronic communication! I have been mailing condolence and "Thank You" cards - but those are not trivial things. Birthday, anniversary, holiday... those are perfect for e-cards. I just find the paper clutter and expense to be prohibitive. I don't want people to be out of work. But as times change businesses must evolve to roll with the changes. I will never choose to spend money on a card if I can send an email to which I can include audio, video, photos, links, and my own words of love/cheer/best wishes!
Jean Westcott December 23, 2011 at 06:46 PM
I think we are in the midst of a sea change in how we prioritize our time and our spending, I really look forward to see what comes next in even our most tradition-bound celebrations.

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