For young and old alike, nothing beats going to the mailbox and finding there, mixed in with all the bills, charity pleas, and catalogs, a greeting card–sometimes for no other reason than to say “’I’m thinking of you.” And best of all, sometimes a personal note is included.
E-cards and e-vites just don’t measure up. Quickly read, easily deleted, forgotten, too, unless printed out. No comparison, right? Nothing to hold firmly in hand and set on a counter, shelf, mantle, or fridge. Nothing to store in a memory box for future looksees. Nothing to pass down to those who follow helping them learn a bit more about themselves and you, too.
Without snail mailed greeting cards, special occasions just aren’t, well, quite so special.
Truth is, they’re time consuming and take some thought, one more task during the pre-holiday season, but, oh, how most of us love getting them—and have for centuries…
- Europeans started making, selling, and exchanging greeting cards way back in the early 1400s.
- The next big thing: On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress created the United States Post Office Department, the precursor to today’s United States Postal Service or USPS.
- In 1840, along came postage stamps.
- Three years later, Londoner Sir Henry Cole designed the first Christmas card for his friends.
- Valentine’s Day cards followed suit in 1849 thanks to Esther Howland who started selling her handmade ones.
And by 2020…
- 6 billion Christmas cards were sold.
- 151 million Valentines’ Day cards were sold.
- 141 Mother’s Day cards were sold.
On average, we Americans reportedly spend about $7 billion on greeting cards every year!! But sales have been slipping 3.5% per year since 2017.
Along with being kind of labor-intensive, costs have risen. On average, a card nowadays will set you back by about $3.50, while boxed holiday cards range from $15 to $20+ for just 20 cards and envelopes.
Plus, in these screen-driven days, sending electronic greetings and invitations is fast, and easy, free, and environmentally friendly, too.
But also quickly dismissed and forgotten.
PLUS, physical cards made with plain pulp paper and water-based solvents are totally recyclable. Just not those boasting ribbons, foil, and glitter.
More good news: Nowadays, Millennials and Gen Zers are joining the card senders. Burned out on too much screen time, these digital natives have grown nostalgic. As they scarf up everything from old-time typewriters and vinyl records to high-waisted jeans and costume jewelry, they may just save the greeting card industry.
You in, too?
With merry everything wishes and thanks for your support, Carol