Are you sending holiday greeting cards via the mail this year? I’m not. No, I’m not a Scrooge – really I’m not. In fact, I truly love the holidays. But I have a thing about spending time and money on holiday greeting cards.
Apparently, I’m an aberration, though. According to Hallmark, one the largest manufacturers of greeting cards, 85 percent of Americans say they are sending cards this year. The U.S. Census Bureau reports two-billion cards will be mailed and delivered during the holiday season, with the heaviest period occurring the week before Christmas.
Here’s my issue. Greeting cards can be expensive and it takes a lot of time to sign and address each one. (Pre-printed cards aren’t personal enough.) Think about this: If on average each greeting card costs $1.00, the amount of money spent during the season is approximately $2 billion and that doesn’t include the postage. Factor in your time and the cost really adds up.
Secondly, what happens to all those cards once the holidays are over? I bet most of you throw them in the trash — right? Sure, it’s nice to open a card and realize someone was thoughtful enough to think of you this year. I particularly like the cards with pictures of my friends’ children and/or pets. Also, the “let me catch you up” letters are interesting when you haven’t seen someone in a while.
But why can’t we accomplish the same thing with an eard? There are numerous Internet sites offering free holiday ecards – purchase an upgrade and you can add your voice and special music. Letters and pictures can be emailed to friends, family, customers and business associates. In fact, I’m more likely to keep digital photos than I am hard copies. There are services, such as Constant Contact, that can distribute your company’s holiday greetings to you entire customer database.
Finally, ecards don’t kill trees. I’m not an avid environmentalist, but I do think it makes very little sense to use a natural resource for a card that has limited impact. Certainly, there are cards made from recycled products, but how many people choose to use them?
At SBTV.com, we don’t print out documents unless it is absolutely necessary. Likewise, we’ve switched to reusable products in our lunch room instead of paper plates and cups. So why not go green with holiday greetings.
There are exceptions to my “no holiday card” sentiments and that is for people who have not yet embraced technology. For example, I could never send an ecard to my cousin, Martha, because she refuses to get an email address. My dad too – forget about it. So, of course, they’ll be getting a card from me this year.
What do you think?