My mother told me I would not be getting a Christmas card in the mail this year. Despite the fact that they are financially sound she said they were cutting back because of the economy. As if to justify her position, she assured me that many people were cutting back on holiday cards. Which got me thinking, is it the economy or is it the fact that people are becoming so used to sending quick messages to a wide audience via social and mobile, that the thought of hand addressing a card becomes much too tedious?
My husband, for example, wanted to send an evite out for our wedding invitation. I squashed the idea despite the fact it was very tempting. As much as I love the holidays I also semi-dread handwriting the cards. My penmanship isn’t the greatest and I’m constantly searching for stamps and people’s postal addresses.
Traditional companies like Hallmark, which have recognized online competition for years now, are forced to reinvent themselves. I just saw a commercial where Hallmark has incorporated augmented reality into their cards so you can actually play scenes from the Charlie Brown Christmas Movie by holding the card up to your web cam. Smart, but doesn’t solve the problem of making a trip to the mailbox or getting a hand cramp from writing. And of course, paper card companies also have e-cards, which are old hat now. There’s something acceptable about sending an e-card for a birthday but not as acceptable for the Holidays or for a thank you note. That is a completely imaginary rule I made up, but one which I have lived by in the past nonetheless.
I have no doubt that in time, sending “real” holiday cards will be replaced completely by virtual cards. Yes, it will be slightly sad, but in the end it will allow us more time to shop, bake and spend face-to-face time with our loved ones. So to my Family and Friends, I’ll be updating my Facebook status with a big old Merry Christmas on Dec. 25 and if you’re ready to make that leap, I invite you to join.