I just read a headline that said, “Holiday Cards Are Back.” Silly me…I didn’t know they’d left.
As someone who appreciates the handwritten word, I’ve never stopped sending holiday greetings—the old-fashioned way, with pen, paper and stamps. Further, I find the email card trend a little too one-size-fits all to be considered personal, making it the digital equivalent of the “Dear All” holiday letter. If you ask me, relationships require a little more skin in the game.
I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking, though I will admit I tend to associate with a likeminded group. Which means I get a lot of cards. And this year seems particularly abundant: my mailbox is nearly overflowing each day.
So I’m positing a few trends based on what I’ve received and observed.
1. Keep It Simple
Still reeling from a lack of social contact as we once knew it, a card seems like the next best thing to a pre-pandemic hug, replete with handprints all over it. Yet, typical cheery greetings can strike a dissonant chord during this uncertain time. I’m finding less jocular cards in my mailbox, with simpler, more sober ones taking their place.
So, too, cards with family pictures as their centerpieces are still on point. If we can’t socialize to the extent we’d like, at least we can see how quickly the kids are growing and which one is maturing into the spitting mage of Uncle Frank.
2. Mail Early
People are mailing earlier, spurred by stories—and experiences—of slower mail delivery. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has committed to keeping things moving, and though it can’t guarantee delivery on a certain date for a card, there are some things that the sender can do to help ensure timely delivery.
Remember it costs 58 cents to mail a standard-size card. Postage should be placed in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope, and the return address should be placed at the upper left-hand corner. The mailing address (placed in the lower center of the envelope) should include the correct zip code, which may be confirmed online. Oversize envelopes require more postage, and anything under 3.5 X 5 (inches) is not eligible for mailing in the U.S.
3. Give Back
Dual-purpose cards that include a donation to a specific cause are popular and worthy of note. I like this trend, though it’s usually a bit dicey determining exactly what percentage of the cost of the product actually goes to the said cause.
4. Make It Sustainable
Environmentally friendly cards are still on trend and include those made from such things as recycled paper and bamboo, sometimes paired with environmentally friendly ink. Taking it one step further, online stationer Paperculture.com plants a tree for every order it receives and has planted over 1,000,000 trees thus far.
5. Keep on Giving
Cards that are designed to be planted rather than thrown away or recycled are popular. Botanical Paperworks makes cards created from post-consumer waste embedded with seeds that will sprout flowers, herbs and vegetables when planted, leaving no waste behind. There are a variety of options and price points. But remember to wait until spring if planting outdoors!