One of my favorite things about the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards from family and friends. That’s why this Family Circus cartoon in the Sunday funnies caught my eye.I keep the cards we receive every year, bundle with ribbon, and store in baskets. The baskets are then part of our holiday decorations. I’ve done it for years.
I like to take a packet from the baskets, look at the photos, and read the letters. It always sparks memories. Some sad knowing the original writer is no longer with us. But, mostly the cards trigger good thoughts. It’s almost like having the senders here with me again.
I’m not alone in my love of sending and receiving Christmas cards.
As outdated as the practice may seem to some, others cling to the tradition along with me. Americans purchase approximately 1.6 billion Christmas cards a year!
The tradition began in the 1800s. As printing techniques improved, and costs dropped, Christmas cards increased in popularity. Read a detailed history here.
When sending a postcard dropped to half a penny, more people were able to send greetings. I collect those vintage postcards. Some date by to the 1900s. I love reading through the handwritten notes and looking at the intricate designs.
What is it about this old-fashioned tradition appeals to so many?
The Greeting Card Association research suggests: “The tradition of giving greeting cards is a meaningful expression of personal affection for another person… ”
Some question whether that appeal will be compelling enough to survive the conveniences of the digital era. I believe the practice will always be a favorite part of the holiday season. What do you think?
Photo of The Family Circus cartoon from the Houston Chronicle, December 9, 2018 edition.