E-cards are not the same as Christmas cards and never will be

Geraldine Carton says no to virtual Christmas Cards. Just no. 

E-card? More like e-coughintheface. And I would truly prefer a cough in the face than I would a Christmas e-card.

The whole point of sending Christmas cards is to spread real, tangible love, not virtual love. That, plus they double as a free festive feature for your home, and they're a novelty. A novelty, like a cafe that serves only cereal, or a landline home telephone, or Michael D. Higgins, or Christmas FM! In stark contrast, Christmas e-cards arouse about as much festive cheer as an advent calendar that distributes advice on alcohol consumption instead of chocolates. Or a sedated Las Vegas tiger wearing a Christmas hat.

There’s nothing novel about receiving yet another online correspondence, even if it does contain a dancing elf gif. E-cards are lame at the best of times, so let it be known that this is the very worst time to let someone know that you care about them only enough to think of them momentarily at Christmas, but not enough to actually exert any effort whatsoever for them.

Actual, sent-in-the-post cards, on the other hand, bring us back to the good old days, when times were simpler and people didn’t want to put up walls or send rocket ships into each other's countries, they just wanted to wish you well and let you know that you are worth an 80c stamp and a brisk walk to the nearest post box. And in an age when fluctuating algorithms and decreasing likes-per-social-media-post make us constantly doubt our own worth, isn’t it nice to know we are worth at least that?

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The sense of satisfaction that comes when you hear the gentle swoosh as the envelope slides into the mouth of the postbox and gently flops down amongst the other envelopes… oh goodness me, it’s a beautiful thing. What’s more, there’s no app that can rustle up the same feeling of innate goodness that comes from a room full of hand-written Christmas cards. Even the people who have terrible handwriting (you know the kind, with penmanship so illegible that it looks like they’ve written the card with their foot), well, even that is better than an e-card. Even the boring religious cards are better, for Pete’s sake!

The Royal Mail carried out research in 2016 and they found that – despite the continuing digitalization of all generations – almost 80% of UK people would rather receive a printed Christmas card over an e-card. I’ve no doubt that if An Post asked the people of Ireland that same question, the difference between the figures would be even starker.

The only benefit that I can see of sending an e-card instead of an actual card, is that over one billion Christmas cards will end up in the bin come January. Not a pretty sight, environmentally. But as our posting habits continue to dwindle down overall, maybe we can be allowed this one annual indulgence? A little goodwill goes a long way after all. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the words of the great Regina George (of Mean Girls fame):

“STOP TRYING TO MAKE CHRISTMAS E-CARDS HAPPEN.

IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.”

Main image Photo Credit; Annie Spratt, Unsplash

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