Do you still send cards at Christmas?
- Credit: Archant
They have been around for over 160 years but are Christmas cards on the way out?
According to the Royal Mail and the Greetings Card Association the answer is definitely not.
The postal service processes triple the normal amount of mail over the festive season and in a recent survey found that 80 percent of people would rather receive a traditional Christmas card than an e-card.
This is despite the fact that Facebook and other social media greetings are now readily used to send wishes to loved ones at Christmas.
The Royal Mail research also found that, as a nation, we plan on sending an average of 18 Christmas cards to friends and family.
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Even tech-savvy youngsters are still keen on printed cards at Christmas, with many getting creative and making their own, with only 1.7 percent of people saying that a message over WhatsApp would be the most meaningful way of receiving Christmas well wishes.
Over three quarters of respondents agreed that Christmas cards help spread festive cheer and goodwill, and almost 70 percent use them as Christmas decorations around the house.
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Over 80 percent of respondents are planning on sending at least the same number of Christmas cards this year as last. Immediate family are the most popular recipients, followed by close friends. Others include clients, friends that live far away, and even pets.
Royal Mail spokesperson David Gold said: 'Nothing matches the feeling of receiving a personalised Christmas card that can be displayed proudly in your home.
'We all look forward to a heartfelt greeting, news from someone living far away or simply knowing you are in a loved one's thoughts. For all of us here at Royal Mail, that really is the true spirit of Christmas.'
Christmas card sales
According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA), over 1.13 billion Christmas cards are bought each year in the UK.
Of these, an estimated 900 million Christmas cards are sold in packs and boxes worth £230 million, and 100 million higher priced single Christmas cards are bought worth £186 million, accounting for 12 percent of all singles card sales annually.
Sharon Little, chief executive of the Greeting Card Association, said: 'This research confirms that sending Christmas cards is a central part of how we love to celebrate Christmas.
'Christmas cards are a physical representation of the connections between people and it's when the cards start arriving that we start to feel festive, close to the people in our lives and in touch with friends we may not have seen for some time.
'People display their cards in their homes to feel surrounded by their community of friends and family. This physical aspect is something that can't be provided by social media – you can't put an ecard on your mantelpiece!'
Last posting dates
For mail posted within the UK, the latest recommended posting dates for Christmas 2017 are:
December 20 for Second Class mail
December 21 for First Class Mail
December 21 for Special Delivery
December 22 for Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed
And a few interesting facts
The commercial Christmas card was invented in 1846 by Sir Henry Cole, the chief organiser of the Great Exhibition, pioneer of the penny post and founder of the V&A Museum.
One of Sir Henry's first Christmas cards, sent to his Grandmother was recently sold at auction for £22,500.
Charities estimate that £50m is raised for good causes through the sales of charity Christmas cards each year.
Greeting card making is also the number one craft hobby, according to Crafts Beautiful, the top consumer craft magazine, which receives more enquiries about greeting cards than any other subject.