The humble Christmas card is still very much at the heart of the festive season according to new research, an attitude which shows no sign of abating any time soon.
The study by Royal Mail sees almost 8 in 10 (77%) UK adults declare that giving Christmas cards is their preferred way of spreading festive cheer. This trumps festive well-wishes in person (62%) or by forms of digital communication (text = 34%, WhatsApp = 21% or Facebook message = 26%).
More than 6 in 10 (64%) people also prefer to receive a Christmas card from loved ones over any other form of festive greeting. By contrast, social media greetings scored fairly low on the scale (4%), as did text message (3%) and face-to-face well-wishes (19%).
When asked why they treasure Christmas cards so much, respondents mainly cited the simple pleasure of keeping them on display in their home (53%). A further 45% claim to love reading the messages inside, and an equal number enjoy the very particular thrill of receiving something through the post.
With over 1 billion Christmas cards purchased last year, Royal Mail has partnered with famed author Simon Garfield to pen a helpful, amusing and very modern poem celebrating this most treasured of festive traditions.
Post Early, Post Often: A Very Modern Guide to Christmas Cards
By Simon Garfield
Is there still something missing from their Christmas this year?
High above on diagonal string?
A small empty space on their mantelpiece
For a card that will make their heart sing?
I’m sure you’ve not really forgotten
How to buy, write or send a great card
But in the spirit of seasonal giving
Here’s some tips to show it’s not hard.
Find a card that fits the receiver
Either tasteful, outlandish or kitsch,
No harm choosing something with Santa and snow
But anything fun will bewitch.
The challenge is your message inside.
What to write that’s both touching and fun?
Take your time – one of life’s great slow pleasures
In a world where it’s all run run run.
Regard it as love in an envelope
A round robin with super-proud news
Or maybe just say ‘I’m thinking of you
As another year draws to a close’.
Keep it simple, sincere and handwritten
Because texting is all well and good
But at this time of year a letter is better
And a card always boosts a friend’s mood.
How to make your effort jump out from the pile?
Maybe send something handmade this year
With cute and embarrassing photos perhaps,
A collage of all those you hold dear
Make it legible, personal, original and fresh
Your sole mission: a smile on their face
But best leave that glitter tube in the drawer,
Always ends up all over the place.
So post early, post often, from east coast to west,
Load your missives with all the chit chat
For there’s no sound as good or as hard to define
As your card dropping onto their mat
Some other fascinating facts unearthed by the research include:
- Respondents voted Christmas cards as one of the most important aspects of the festive season (58%); more than the turkey (42%), carol singing (31%), and even the annual Christmas shopping trip (46%).
- The younger generation (18-24) still favours Christmas cards, with over half (56%) preferring them as a way of spreading festive cheer over any other form of communication. This is compared to just 38% who opted for text message, and 24% via WhatsApp.
- The residents of Newcastle (91%), Birmingham (86%) and Leeds (86%) place the most value on Christmas cards in the country of the cities surveyed.
Simon Garfield commented: “What else better sums up the joy of giving and receiving than a pack of Christmas cards, and as the research shows – people love and want to receive them over anything else.”
Mark Street, Head of Campaigns at Royal Mail commented: “Whilst social media is a great way of keeping in touch on a day-to-day basis, there’s something inherently festive and heart-warming about sending and receiving a physical card through the post, which someone has lovingly taken the time to write. Put simply, sometimes a letter or card is better.”
Festive wordsmiths are reminded to post their letters and cards with enough time to spare for Christmas. The last posting date for 1st Class stamps is Thursday 20th December, and Tuesday 18th December 2018.
 Figures from Greetings Card Association, Christmas 2017