By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to picture Christmas without sending and receiving that giant pile of Christmas cards. But now that so many of us stay in touch with our friends online, is the internet killing the Christmas card?

A heck of a lot of us are still sending cards.

“Industry wide, this year we expect about 1.5 billion Christmas cards will be exchanged,” said Sarah Kolell, a spokesperson for Hallmark.

But she admits, that is down from 1.8 billion a few years ago.

“I am not kidding when I say I’ve gotten 80 to 90 percent fewer holiday cards and newsletters this year,” said Kat Turner. “Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, no one needs to send out the annual greeting.”

The U.S. Postal Service is certainly noticing a decline in first-class mail activity, which includes the holiday cards.

“I know for a fact my kids don’t send cards and letters like I used to when I was their age,” said Pete Nowacki, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service in Minnesota.

In 2006, Post Offices around the country processed 4 billion pieces of first-class mail from the period of Thanksgiving to Christmas. This year, they project to see just 3 billion pieces of mail.

“That’s a sizable amount of money lost,” said Nowacki. One-billion fewer 44-cent stamps translates to a loss of $440 million.

Jana wrote on my blog, “I personally like getting the Christmas cards in the mail, but I was able to see the social networking value of putting it on FB. People respond, make comments, ask questions, etc… and that usually doesn’t happen with the traditional Christmas card.”

According to one market research firm, the percentage of us buying cards has severely dropped. Just in 2005, 77 percent of us said we bought Christmas cards. In 2009, just 62 percent said they did.

“E-mails are great. but there’s something about opening it up, holding in your hands, or the little set on your mantle that we still all like,” said Nowacki.

“Our consumers tell us that having a tangible card still matters,” said Kolell.

As Mindy wrote on DeBlog, “Nothing is more exciting than getting mail. It just isnt the same getting an email!”

WCCO-TV’s Jason DeRusha Reports

Jason DeRusha

Comments (7)
  1. Pate says:

    Sending real Christmas cards is still a big deal with my family.We may send messages online to each other,but I enjoy making my own cards.It is enjoyable to receive a physical card from someone.

  2. Sharon says:

    I send Christmas letters to our friends and family. This year I emailed that letter to those who use email. To me, it’s the time of year I want to hear news from people, not just a card with their signature.

  3. Doug says:

    With “Christmas” mentioned numerous times in the story, why do the folks who create the story header feel the need to say “Xmas”? Good question.

    1. @Doug says:

      To save time, space, and bandwidth.

  4. mwern says:

    I think the real blame lies with the Post Office for raising the cost of Postage Stamps so many people cannot afford to send them!