/ Money

Your view: is it OK to send electronic greetings cards?

e-greeting

Last Saturday’s convo about price increases on stamps pulled out some interesting insights into your views on sending greetings cards – or rather, avoiding electronic greetings cards…

I’ve already explained that I only buy stamps once a year – at Christmas – and don’t really bother any other time as I rarely post anything.

I also confessed that I’m a fan of sending well wishes via text and maybe a message on Facebook, too.

These e-greetings are mostly sent for birthdays, and to mark the occasion, I’ll probably throw a few emoticons in there and almost certainly a picture of a birthday dog, too:

Birthday dog
Getting personal

But is sending an electronic greeting a good way to send instant well wishes, or is it another example of technology destroying tradition?

John Ward is very much in favour of sending cards:

‘We send quite a lot of birthday cards to friends and relatives, and about two or three letters a week that require stamps. There’s also St. Valentines Day, Easter, get well, thank you, new home, best wishes, condolences, congratulations, family correspondence, and so on.’

He also pointed out that:

‘The internet has saved so much in other ways that it makes personal correspondence affordable as well as a pleasure.’

For Alfa, electronic greetings miss out the personal touch:

‘I like to receive greetings cards so also send them as electronic greetings seem a bit of a cop-out and rather impersonal. If I forget to send a card, I phone to say ‘happy birthday’, and wouldn’t dream of sending a text or email. ’

Both Wavechange and NFH agreed that e-greetings and e-cards just don’t cut the mustard and the decline of such electronic greetings is welcomed.

And Emgee noted that while electronic greetings cards lack thought, e-invitations can be quite useful:

‘Electronic greetings are nowhere near as thoughtful as finding the right card for someone, handwriting a personal message and going to the bother of posting it. Although I have received beautifully designed wedding invitations electronically with an electronic reply function and that is a good idea.’

It seems, however, that there’s still place for thoughtful and creative card sending.

Both John Ward and Malcolm sparked a degree of envy for me with their cards – Malcolm cleverly makes greetings cards from photo-print paper, and the hand-drawn cards John Ward receives from a friend sounds like they belong in an art gallery.

It had me digging around for my own card-making craft kit, which I bought a number of years ago with high hopes of finding the time to make them…

So are electronic cards an appropriate means of sending your wishes or invitations, or should they be banished altogether?

Comments
Profile photo of VynorHill
Member

I don’t like them. One is never sure who has sent them and whether it is safe to open them, particularly if they contain GIFs and mini videos. If I am purchasing one of these, I might as well purchase a card from a shop. As your introduction says, it’s more personal.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

I think there’s a place for digital cards. I’ve already noted that the only company I know that produces decent ones is Jackie Lawson, but we do find that sending our sons and their partners E-cards reaches them quickly and securely, whereas one can never be quite sure when the posted ones will arrive – if they indeed do.

We deliver a lot of cards at Christmas, because we enjoy walking round the farms and cottages and through the fields, watching for the yellow light spilling out of windows and across hoar-frost meadows. We normally get snow, too, so the picture is complete – if rather chilly. But birthday cards are equally split between e-cards and posted ones. I think that providing the e-cards come from a decent place, then the recipient is normally more than happy.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I agree that the Jackie Lawson e-cards are about the best available in terms of production quality, animation and appearance. Some of them are a bit cheesy but that doesn’t matter. They’re nicely done and sensitive. We use them as back-ups. We post birthday cards [sometimes two or three for variety] about a week ahead so the relative can have them on display before their birthday but we arrange for the e-cards to be delivered on the actual birthday. I suppose people can have their laptop or tablet available to show off their e-cards but it’s not as good as having a line of cards on the window cill or mantelpiece.

In the early days of e-cards some friends in America started sending them but, soon after, we started getting unusual and unwanted e-mails so we asked them to stop sending the e-cards. We had blocked the senders so I don’t know whether more junk e-mails were sent.

The cards I really dislike are those awful ones you can get at Christmas that say things like “From our house to your house”, and “From the both of us to the both of you”. The worst of all though are those that say “From our dog to your dog”. Since these stupid cards with their ghastly red envelopes cost about £2.50 each I wonder at the mentality of people who buy them.

We haven’t discarded the 2016 Christmas cards yet because we haven’t quite finished responding to the messages and updating the database. Perhaps we take it all a bit too seriously, but more information comes through at Christmastime than throughout the rest of the year.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I find some of the Jacquie Lawson cards rather twee, not helped by the fact that I have received so many of them. I do concede that they are better than some of the alternatives I have seen.

At least it is easy to view modern ecards. In the earlier days it was commonplace for people to create their own cards without any thought of whether the recipient had the software to open the attachment.

My favourite cards are the ones that are handmade. Sadly, I’m not creative.

Profile photo of
Member

Personally I don’t like e cards and find a physical card with a personal message more personal and thoughtful. I only send cards to a select few people mainly for Christmas and Birthdays.

Profile photo of NFH
Member

If I receive an electronic greetings card from someone, I will be annoyed with them for divulging my private e-mail address to a third party without my consent, who will probably sell it for spamming and other marketing purposes. This annoyance will far outweigh any pleasure in receiving the message conveyed by the card. I don’t register my private e-mail address even with trusted companies; I use another e-mail address at which I don’t mind receiving marketing messages from those companies. I would much prefer to receive a message via Facebook, WhatsApp, iMessage or Viber.

Member
Jennifer D says:
7 March 2017

I felt moved to join in on this particular debate! This may be controversial, but I actually dislike greetings cards in almost all their forms. As a sender – having to spend a good deal of money and time selecting cards for all of the holidays and birthdays becomes a drag on my time and my wallet. Having to maintain an address book and buy stamps etc is just an extra part of the pain.

As a receiver – I generally find that cards quickly become rubbish to be recycled. While the thought is nice, I feel like the only people who really benefit is the greetings card industry. I also can’t help but think it’s a terrible waste of paper/card!

On the e-cards – my mother-in-law has a habit of sending us the Jacquie Lawson cards. And I’ll be frank in saying that I really dislike them. They are often very cheesy and in a way, I’d prefer no card at all! I’m happy to receive a text or a message on Facebook to say that someone is thinking of me on a special occasion.

My mother-in-law (and grandmother-in-law) are both into making their own cards, mostly using kits where you stick things onto card to create a 3D effect, or when time affords it, we’ll get a card that uses thread to create a picture. In these cases I’m always grateful for the effort, but when I’m immediately told how it took them 14 hours to create, I’m not sure my reaction can ever be appreciative enough to justify their hard work!

The only time I like to give or receive cards are for particularly special occasions, or occasions where the messaging really matters. Examples include leaving a workplace, having a new baby or getting married. Just in case it offers any kind of context, I’m 31 years old.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

For those of us who are unobtainable on social media, and whose relatives can’t get their act together to buy a card and find a stamp, the e-card has become the gesture of last resort. It also provides a handy excuse for not enclosing a postal order.

Member
Gerald Hudson says:
7 March 2017

Surely it is the thought that counts, emails have really taken over from the Post.
To make your own get programs such as “Greeting Card Factory” you can integrate all the standard forms of data etc. and it doesn’t take 14 hours to come up with an original, specially designed for the person in mind.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

I do create my own e-cards, which I can send as emails or links to my website. Quite absorbing process making them, and you can personalise them nicely.

Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

We need a caption competion for that dog. Fab picture.
“Aye, go on, laugh!”.
“Where have you been? Do you realise just how good I’m being???”.
“I’m not sozzled, just resigned.”

A friend of mine designs her own Christmas card every year and they are brilliant, but then she is a gifted artist, not your average punter with a glue stick and glitter.

Another friend buy very cheap Christmas cards and I love receiving one from her. She’s thought of me.

At work I send colleagues a collective Holidays email instead of individuals card and give money to charity. I explain what charity and why in the email and it is generally very well received.

Member
David Bromige says:
11 March 2017

We have used electronic cards for many years now and they are totally reliable and arrive as you indicate
when you want it to arrive. Many of the cards go to foreign countries and therefore delivery on time is important.We certainly will not finance the post office with paying unrealistic prices which keep going up. If they stopped putting rubbish in our letter box each day which goes straight into recycling, and reduced their prices then it might change our minds.

Member
Patricia says:
11 March 2017

I love JLawson ecards and find them far less cheesy than the majority of cards available in shops. I live in a rural area where choice of real cards is not inspiring so ecards are an ideal alternative. I send them to people I really value and mean them every bit as sincerely as any paper card. I find it quite upsetting to think that others view them only as a substitute for the ‘real thing’.

Member
Linda Shelley says:
11 March 2017

I feel that in some circumstances only a normal card will do, for example if you wish to include a cheque for a family member or a £5 note for a child (especially if they live some distance away and you don’t know what toys they like, or may already have) Also I agree with Jennifer D that some special occasion cards like wedding or new baby (the sort that people might want to keep) and especially condolence cards, which should surely be more personal and thoughtful, should be sent by post.

Member
Stephen Clarke says:
11 March 2017

I sent some for the very first time this Christmas, when I ran out of time to send a few in the post. I was surprised to discover that the housing charity ‘Shelter’ provided an email card service in return for a donation. They had a good choice of pictures and it was doubly satisfying, both to get a last minute greeting to some friends, and to benefit a most deserving charity at the same time (especially at Christmas).

Profile photo of Sookey
Member

It is commendable that many people buy or make paper cards then post them, and I agree that it is best to send paper cards in some circumstances (e.g. new baby, condolences). However, not everyone has the cash or time to buy, make, write and send a large batch of Christmas cards. Jacquie Lawson cards has been mentioned by several people. They may be twee, but there are lots to choose from, and for less that £10 a year you can send as many pretty cards as you like and it costs less than buying and posting, say, 40 Christmas cards. I like the idea of the ‘Shelter’ cards too. Each to his own, I say, and let’s be more open-minded!

Member
John from Oxford says:
11 March 2017

We started sending e-mail Christmas greetings – not commercially produced ones but our own personal message – to people whom we had asked and had said they were willing to receive them. We don’t use distribution lists, so each message is one-to-one. About 20% of our Christmas cards now go this way. The motive was to save money (postage) and the paper mountain. But we have found – and this is what we want to contribute to this thread – is that this does not save time. Rather the reverse. It is quicker, with computer generated address labels, to pop a card in an envelope with a Christmas letter, and some of our friends having received an e-greeting return the compliment by post.

Member
Jasmine says:
11 March 2017

I don’t like electronic cards too much. I feel obliged to sit through the rather saccharine-y greeting. I don’t mind not getting a physical card, since it’s the remembering that counts, but would rather just have a personal email from the person concerned if they want to send good wishes electronically.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

Most E-cards are, as you say, over-sentimentalised but two of us, now, have mentioned the only e-card people we’d trust. The Jacquie Lawson card is not free: it’s £20 per year but for that you do get some very well thought-out cards, that you can personalise rather neatly. It’s a tiny, cottage industry that started out when Jacquie herself was sending her friends e-cards she’d designed (she’s an artist). Because her friends started sending them on she ended up with people placing orders, so decided to become semi-commercial.

Worth having a look at, however. She’s streets ahead of any others we’ve ever seen.

Profile photo of RobertMcQueen
Member

Electronic greetings are fine in some cases, but l would send a old fashioned card in most circumstances as this tells the person that you care and respect them better, plus you place that personal touch knowing only the person will see it first and is private.

Member
Mike says:
12 March 2017

I’ve been using Jacqui Lawson for around 7 years now though I’m not sure about ‘Ian’s’ comment that it costs £20 a year. I renewed my membership recently for £13 for two years.

Some, the older ones, maybe a bit cheesy but the comments I get receive from overseas family and friends are really good and with the cost of postage these days it really is good value and, if you set reminders like birthdays etc. she’ll email a reminder to you.

The site could be modernised though.

Profile photo of MikieM
Member

I’ve been using Jacqui Lawson for around 7 years now though I’m not sure about ‘Ian’s’ comment that it costs £20 a year. I recently renewed my membership for £13 for two years.

Some, the older ones, maybe a bit cheesy but the comments I get from overseas family and friends are really good and with the cost of postage these days it really is good value and, if you set reminders like birthdays etc. she’ll email a reminder to you.

The site could be modernised though.

Member
Lynda Jane says:
12 March 2017

I’ve never sent an e-card, an e-mail or any other computerised communication for a birthday or other occasion, even though I started in computers nearly 50 years ago. I don’t use social media but, if I did, I wouldn’t dream of signifying someone’s special day by using that. If you can’t be bothered to spend a few minutes in a shop – you could even include it in your supermarket shop – finding an appropriate card for someone, writing it and posting it, then I really do fear for human interaction in the future. I’m a papercrafter, so I make all my own cards and it takes a lot longer than buying one in a shop.

I’d like those of you who only send electronic greetings to fast forward to a time when you’re much older, and imagine your mantelpiece with a laptop on it, instead of a row of birthday cards.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

To advance, electronic greetings need to have a voice-recording facility. At the moment they are just a two-dimensional animated and crudely interactive replication of a conventional greeting card, albeit with a simple musical background. More and more physical greeting cards are now taking advantage of three-dimensional production and decorative techniques to make them more appealing. Compared with the cost of a card and envelope, the second-class stamp [currently 55p] is a minor expense and an attractive array of commemorative and celebratory stamps is available at post offices to add a more individual touch.

Member
David Graham Denham says:
13 March 2017

This discussion completely overlooks the countless old people and disabled people who are not able to visit shops, for whom E cards are a godsend. Furthermore, viewing E cards to find a suitable one takes far longer than viewing the same number of cards in a shop. I would suggest that those who are fit and able-bodied should normally send cards through the post in the traditional way, but that E cards should be pertectly acceptable from others.

Member
Margaret Wright says:
13 March 2017

As an octogenarian, living in a small village without a shop nearer than 2 miles away, and a twice-a day bus service into the nearest town, I bless the activities of Jacqui Lawson to enable me to send cards easily. The message attached to each card is personalised and no-one [other than the recipient] can see it, unlike Facebook messages. I have been using these cards more or less since she first started and I particularly enjoy her Advent calendars.

Member
Barbara says:
13 March 2017

e-cards are ideal for someone like me. Not everyone is able to get out to shop,someone else may not have the same choice in cards, and by the time they have the time to take one to the shop then it is too late.