Hallmark Christmas Cards or E-Cards?
Has Hallmark Run of out Business?
Mailing Christmas cards to family and friends used to be an important year-end ritual. Not anymore, because electronic cards and Christmas text messages arrive by cellphone now.
Certain steps were taken before going out to buy the cards.
- Checking the previous year's mailing list. You sent a card to Aunt Viv. She didn't send you one. Should you send her a card this year 2015.
- The card you sent to your friend in Kiev came back. RETURN TO SENDER. Did he move or die? These things happen.
- Your brother sent you an e-mail about change of address. He is no longer in Mali. Did you delete that e-mail?
- When you get to the mall, will you buy a pack of 20 cards or buy special cards for everybody on your list?
- Writing out the cards meant sitting down with a cup of coffee and addressing envelopes.
- Going to the post office to mail them was also a great achievement.
Your grandkids should not catch you doing all that. They will roll their eyes and say, "What a drag."
Birthdays and other greeting cards still have a place in society, despite the abundance of free electronic card templates.
Old school cards bring a smile every time the receiver sees them on a desk, table or mantelpiece. Receivers also touch them fondly when they are dusting the furniture and kids love showing them off to visitors and neighbours.
Change for the Better?
Electronic cards (e-cards) are not the bad guys. Change is. My mother hated denim. She did not like something that could be worn for months without being washed. If she was still around, she would freak out that movie and television stars pay hundreds of dollars for jeans that have been intentionally ripped off to show knees and thighs.
Change happens everywhere. Certain fiction and non-fiction writers resisted word processing computers when they first came in. They swore that they could not write great novels, poetry, biographies or travel articles on a machine. They wanted to pound their Remington or Brother.
Japan built microwave ovens and the stove oven sat there feeling lonesome, but almost every kitchen in North America has a microwave now. There are people who swore that they will never wear sneakers because they are scruffy-looking, but common sense prevailed.
You need to be comfortable when walking ten blocks or jogging. I still miss business women in New York, with their sneakers and brief cases in the morning. The sneakers were for comfort when going up and down subway steps and catching cabs. When they got to work, they changed into proper shoes they kept under their desks.
E-cards are just part of life, which is now digitally mastered. There are probably very few kids between the ages of 16 and 18 who have bought a postcard while they were on vacation in Barbados, wrote something interesting to friends and family back home, bought a stamp, licked it and attached it to the post card.
Incidentally, on 25 February 2015, Canada Post sold me a stamp for $1.05, to mail a letter I posted in Winnipeg. Its destination was another address in the same city.
You still see post cards in curio shops but they are now produced in smaller numbers because you can ‘take a picture’ of yourself with your cell phone, and press SHARE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and so many other platforms.
People on vacation used to ask passers-by to take their photo and it worked because I haven’t read about incidents where locals ran away with tourists’ cameras. All that is a thing of the past because of cell phones and Do-It Yourself (D.I.Y) photography.
Where there is life there is change. Some people will gain from it. Some will lose. Just talk to professional photographers. How are they making a living when everybody is now a photographer? There is even a photographer called a ‘selfie’ because you take it yourself.
Professional photographers look at many aspects of the image, not just clicking that button. They use lights to emphasize the subject of the photo. They think about the quality should the photo be enlarged into billboards over the highway.
They know how to take photos of little things like butterflies and freeze water as it cascades down a waterfall. All that can be done digitally in the studio or your phone now, but there is still use for professional photographers.
They were also hired by card manufacturers like Hallmark to take photos used in greeting cards. Mobile phones and their ability to take good photos, crop them or add something to the image negatively affect bank accounts of most photographers
E-cards and Unemployment
Photographers are not the only people affected by e-cards.
Design studios: people who designed greeting cards and animation.
Writers: they wrote those greeting card messages, ‘happy birthday adorable niece’.
Paper mills: they supplied paper that made the greeting cards and envelopes.
Plastic covers: most greeting cards come wrapped in some light foil.
Cardboard boxes: manufacturers made the boxes for the greeting cards.
Delivery vans: delivery vans took the boxes to Canada Post, Royal Mail or India Post.
Barcodes: somebody has the responsibility of stamping barcodes on the greeting cards, whether it is done manually or electronically.
Shops: they sold greeting cards.
Carpenters: they made greeting cards racks in gift shops, drugstores like Rexall and in department stores.
Canada Post: sold stamps for the envelopes or sent them bulk postage.
Greeting Cards in Society
Greeting cards used to be popular because they hid our deficiencies in expressing our feelings. We do not know how to say sorry or congratulations, so we used to go to the drugstore or chemist to find the right card.
They showed someone that you love them. That is why people say, ‘She didn’t even send me a card on Valentine’s Day.’ Someone might say, ‘He’s alive I suppose because he still sends Christmas cards.’
Card shops used to have big cards people used for retirement and engagement parties or someone having a baby. The ‘event planner’ - and every workplace has one – used to circulate the card for co-workers to write a few words and sign it.
Change is more frustrating for people who do not want to accept it, which is counter-productive because you cannot change the sun, or something you cannot control.
You can still send traditional cards, but it is nice to know you can also creative your own e-cards, using your own messages and your own photos. Make it personal. People who receive them will appreciate that you remember jokes you shared, their hobbies and their children.