MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Every December, my husband Joe and I look forward to getting the mail.

We’re suckers for Christmas cards. We love the letters from the dogs, the sweet note from Grandma and the pictures of all the kids we haven’t seen that year.

“You don’t get mail anymore, you just get emails, so to have something to open that’s not a bill is just nice,” said Joe.

Americans are sending fewer holiday cards compared to five years ago. According to the U.S. Postal Service, we’ll mail 600 – 650 million letters or packages this December compared to 800 million pieces in 2009.

But a new survey finds 48 percent of Americans will send holiday greetings this season.

People over 65 (64 percent) are more likely to send out cards compared to people under 30 (29 percent). Older folks also prefer notes or letters compared to photo cards for the younger set.

Smithsonian historian Daniel Gifford says the holiday card tradition started in the 1870s when printing entrepreneur Louis Prang saw an opportunity. By 1905, Christmas postcards were very popular and in 1915, the Halls of Hallmark jumped into the business.

Among those who send out holiday cards, 50 percent say they’ll send out fewer than 20, and 11 percent say they’ll send out more than 50.

The average number is 29. Dec. 15 is the busiest day for mailing and Dec. 17 is the busiest for delivery.

The Associated Press survey also found 53 percent of Protestants, 55 percent of Catholics and 40 percent of those without religious beliefs say they will send cards this year.

Heather Brown

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