Special Greetings are 'Still a Thing'
Merry Christmas! Wait, did I already say that last month? In fact I did. I said it to you in this column and I said it to a hundred or so friends, neighbors, relatives and employees via Christmas cards. My company, likewise, greeted hundreds more clients, vendors and friends in the same manner.
The Christmas card is a time-honored tradition. This centuries-old phenomenon attained nearly universal popularity in the mid-19th century in the United States and the United Kingdom, coinciding with the advent of affordable postal rates and mass printing.
Think the time for cards has passed?
Not nearly. The Greeting Card Association reports that Americans buy about 6,500,000,000 printed greeting cards each year. That’s 6.5 billion cards, with a B, of which more than 1.5 billion are Christmas cards. That doesn’t even include photo cards from companies such as Shutterfly (or for that matter, from your printing company) which, in my informal estimate, make up about a quarter of all Christmas cards.
“Why are paper Christmas cards still a thing?” asked the Chicago Tribune in a headline, with no sense of irony. (Gee, I dunno. Why is the Chicago Tribune still a thing?) The Trib answers its own question: “Millennials … are to thank.” The story goes on to report that millennials are the largest age group of greeting card buyers.
“There are so many college students that come in and will spend,” the owner of a Twin Cities card shop told Slate magazine.
“Greeting cards give recipients something to hold onto,” Vox reports, “and can feel like a more authentic way to take in kind wishes than an online missive.”
E-cards fail completely at delivering the personal touch that is the attraction of printed and mailed cards. I, for one, delete all e-cards I receive unopened, not out of spite, but because of their popularity for spreading trojan viruses. It takes me about as much effort to delete an emailed “card” as the sender put into sending it.
Before his retirement, Brad Kruchten, Division president at Kodak, opined, “We have to eat our own cooking. We have to believe in print and use print. We have to believe in our own products.”
Did you send out greeting cards for the Christmas holiday? The yuletide season may be past, but now is just the right time for a New Year’s resolution to add greeting cards to your toolbox of communication tactics.
Buy some stamps and some note cards. Better yet, print your own! Send friends, family and clients congratulatory notes for promotions, awards and graduations. Send sympathy cards for deaths and illnesses. By the time next Christmas rolls around you won’t even consider not sending holiday cards.
Happy New Year, from Johnson’s World.
Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Copresco in Carol Stream, Ill., is an executive with 40 years of experience in the graphic arts. He founded Copresco, a pioneer in digital printing technology and on-demand printing, in 1987. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.copresco.com