BD5F3B1A.jpgEvery year I have a little white box for that year’s Christmas cards. When we decorate the house for the holidays, I label a new box for that year, and as the cards arrive throughout December I read them and lovingly store them away in that year’s box.

Except that this year, the cards just haven’t arrived. By mid-December we had received precisely eight cards. What was once a happy end-of-day ritual of opening letters from friends has turned into a sad exercise in mailbox disappointment. I feel like Charlie Brown on Valentine’s Day.

The Chicago Tribune assures me that this is not a sign of the decline of my personal popularity. (What a relief. Thanks.) Apparently the Christmas card is on its way to spotted owlhood. The Trib reports:


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.”

This year the decline is noticeable: we’re down to 1.5 billion cards from 1.8 billion. The article goes on:

While Christmas remains the holiday that sparks the most greeting
card sales, fewer people send cards each year, according to Unity
Marketing. The percentage of consumers buying greeting cards for
Christmas fell from 77 percent in 2005 to 73 percent in 2007 and to 62
percent in 2009, according to the Stevens, Pa.-based market research
firm’s 2010 report on greeting cards and stationery.

The outlook
is particularly weak for teenagers and college students, who are
accustomed to communicating in ways that are more immediate, more
efficient and more cost-effective, said Pamela Danziger, president of
Unity Marketing.

I do love keeping up with my friends on Facebook, and agree that for many practical reasons, Christmas cards seem like a waste of time, stamps, and trees nowadays. But I raise my cup of egg nog to the  Christmas cards of years gone by. May they rest in peace.

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