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Two thirds of people said they’d rather not receive an electronic emailed “e-card” compared to a traditional printed one. In a recent survey conducted by the University of Salford, 71% said e-cards were impersonal.

Professor Linge said “An important aspect of Christmas is showing that you care.” He explains “Traditional cards demonstrate a commitment, whereas an e-card was seen by many as being too easy, lacking in commitment, being the ‘cheap’ alternative and therefore of considerably less true value. It is very much a case of ‘it’s the thought that counts’”.

The green credentials of e-cards were also challenged. Many people noted that e-cards consume electricity to send, that they too use paper if they are printed, and in general the maintenance and disposal of electronic equipment all bring their own environmental implications. Traditional cards printed on recycled board or the recycling of Christmas cards was seen as a positive counterbalance.

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“Will the 164 year old tradition of sending printed Christmas cards fall victim to the Internet’s infl uence?” asks Professor Linge. “Our survey suggests the answer is no and a very emphatic NO. It is clear that the Christmas card represents far more than a greeting; it shows commitment, that you have taken the trouble to think about others and it serves as an important reminder to the recipient that others care about them. Whilst the e-card can carry a greeting it is not yet able, or perceived to be able, to convey the true emotional and friendship aspects of a traditional card. It appears as though the traditional Christmas card is almost the embodiment of the charitable and giving aspects of Christmas itself.”

Source: Linge, N. (2007) Christmas card survey 21 January 2008


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