Are e-holiday cards gauche?

Right around now, many people start to think about getting their Holiday cards organized. But then life gets hectic, right? Cut to a few weeks later when you realize you still haven’t figured out which photo to use on the card, let alone ordered any, and the panic starts to set in. That’s when last-minute types start asking themselves, “Is it gauche to send an e-holiday card?”

A lovely tradition

Sending “season’s greeting” cards is a tradition that goes back over 150 years and is quite simply a lovely way to stay in touch with family and friends, no matter what you celebrate. They are nice to give and even nicer to get – I personally love the respite from the endless stream of junk mail that clutters up my mailbox most of the time. I love opening the envelopes and seeing the beautifully designed cards, and of course, the family photos. We display all of the cards that come in to our house on a ribbon that hangs from our mantle in the living room. Having them displayed this way gives us the feeling that our far-flung families and good friends are right there with us as we celebrate the season.

My take on the matter

I strongly prefer physical cards to e-cards. While getting an e-card is certainly a step above reading a post on Facebook or Twitter, the effect is still fleeting. Once the computer is shut, the people who sent those e-cards disappear. They are more difficult to share with family members and, and because they can’t be displayed physically in the spaces where you actually celebrate, don’t add much to spirit of the season.

Yet there is nothing technically gauche about the format. It is better for the environment, they are less expensive to spend, and keeping it virtual is much easier for busy people to do. I’d much rather send and receive e-cards than skip them altogether. Especially since e-card designs have improved dramatically in recent years. Gone are the amateur gif animations and cheesy punch lines. (If you are in the market, check out the lovely e-card options over at

One might argue with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and a million other ways to stay connected, we don’t really need Holiday cards anymore. After all if you know what your family and friends have had for breakfast today, already saw what their cute kids looked like in their Halloween costumes, and know what their cats and dogs are up to too – what else is there to catch up on?

In fact, it seems that Americans are letting go of their Holiday greetings habit. The US Post Office reported that Americans sent 7.5% fewer Holiday cards in 2009 than they did in 2007, a trend that is expected to continue.

In the end, it’s a trend that makes me sad. In this world of insta-everything, the act of taking the time and effort to hold another loved one in your thoughts for even a minute as you jot (or type) a quick note to them is one of the greatest gifts you can give – to card recipients and to yourself. Not only will it enrich everyone’s perspective (after all, what is more important than friends and family), but the time you spend sending – and receiving – the cards offers an opportunity to reflect on all that you have to be grateful for.

{feature photo via Ohdeeoh}

So where do you net out? Are you going to be sending greetings this year or are you throwing in the towel? Are you in favor of e-cards or physical cards?