There are some things that just don’t bridge the digital divide. In my opinion, Christmas cards are one of them. And I was pleased to learn on CBC’s The Current this morning I am not alone. To rip Mark Twain, — reports of their death have been highly exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong, when I miss a birthday, I have on occasion sent an e-card because they go instantaneously. But I know, and the receiver knows, that they are not the real thing — usually an afterthought. They don’t convey nearly the investment of self that a carefully selected greeting card, hand signed and posted conveys. And intriguingly, the most recent Canada Post statistics show that the majority of young Canadians — age 18 to 24 – said they also prefer receiving cards in the mail to electronic alternatives.
The paper greeting card was a 19th Century invention. According to Jason Proctor who reported on this for CBC, “a simple thread connects the greeting card industry from the Victorian era to the present day.” He describes it as almost the primal urge to express ourselves to loved ones. Over the years I have sometimes saved special greeting cards and how happy I am that I did. My paternal grandmother died when I was five and I still have a card she sent me depicting Clement Moore’s “Twas the night before Christmas….” From time to time I take it out and read her message to me over and reflect about her and her life and all the other things she bequeathed to me. A little hard to do this with an e-card.
This year at Jesson we once again had the debate about traditional versus electronic cards. What does it say about our brand that we choose to send a paper card rather than a slick digital greeting that arrives through email or one of the social media platforms? After much discussion, we decided to take the risk that we are suggesting a certain lack of hipness. Instead we opted for sincerity. I like to think its a value in the communications business that doesn’t go out of style. So from all of us, to all of you who follow this blog, we wish you a very old-fashioned but heartfelt — “Merry Christmas to all…. and to all a good night!”