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The Globe and Mail

Christmas e-mail? Bah! humbug, say Canadians, we want cards

Awkward family photos on Santa's knee, licking envelopes and the frosty trip out to the mailbox are holiday traditions not lost on Canadians this year.

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Canada Post, Canadians will send an average of 15.6 cards this holiday season - and more people say they'd rather receive an envelope in the mailbox than the easy e-card equivalent.

The survey showed 8 out of 10 Canadians "expressed a strong preference to receiving a holiday card in the mail," the postal service said in a release Monday. That's one more in 10 than a 2008 survey showing that preference at 7 out of 10 Canadians.

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But those in central Canada are still fonder of the new age of electronically sent holiday cheer.

Canadians living in Quebec and Ontario were "more open" to sending e-greetings, while a large majority of east coasters - 83 per cent - were more likely to send mailed cards.

Sending flashy, singing e-greetings only takes a few clicks, but Canada Post said those planning to do so are only likely to send an average of five.

Judith Rudoler, manager of the Paper Place, a card and stationery store on Queen Street West in Toronto, said it's clear the nostalgia of mailing cards hasn't been hampered by the popularity of e-mail.

"It's certainly consistent, if anything," Ms. Rudoler said. "Which means the e-card isn't taking away from our business, which is good."

She said while the types of people who normally seek out their store tend to be the ambitious crafty types, holiday card materials are still flying off the shelves as normal.

"We've been selling a lot of boxed cards. As well, we're having trouble keeping blank cards in stock," she said.

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Anyone opting for the pre-made card over hand-crafted envelope stuffers, Hallmark, the north American greeting card giant, has identified several card fashions for this year's holiday:

  • Rich, red cards that are "both traditional and up-to-date all at once";
  • Retro, Mad Men-inspired cards;
  • Silent Night-styled cards with shimmering snowflake and twilight backdrops and;
  • Nature-themed cards with "classic holiday icons" like pine cones, berries and birds.
  • And these classic cards, may come with less hassle.

Hallmark was reminding card givers and receivers last month about the perils of fraudulent and virus-infected e-cards.

For those sticking with tradition, Canada Post recommends ensuring cards are mailed by Friday, Dec. 17 to avoid disappointment.

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