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Snail mail rules

● Etiquette – Ceri Stirland talks Christmas cards

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For the retail industry, it’s time to shake off the glitter from the 2017 festive season and leap straight into looking at the trends and buying choices for 2018, but the good news is that the Christmas card tradition is still incredibly strong here in the UK.


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MAIL, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texting – social media abounds these days, but 90 per cent of British people still believe a Christmas card is the most fitting greeting of all.

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SHOP TALK Glass baubles with names or dates added with a little glitter snow inside have been amazing sellers for 2017! Baby’s First Christmas is strong and the Christmas card designs we make in-house, which can also have names added. Personalisation is a continuing trend. Gracie Brown, Artisan, Rochford, Essex Best sellers for 2017 were Belly Button, their Glittertastic bottle bags and gift bag range and beautiful Christmas cards. And Glick, their Tartan tissue paper and gift bags has absolutely flown off the shelves, so I’ll be looking at both again for 2018. Laura Bell, Ivad Gifts, Paisley, Renfrewshire

46 www. www.greetingstoday

The recent study for Oxfam revealed that despite the plethora of hi-tech methods of communication, the snail mail tradition of a good old-fashioned handwritten festive greeting dropping through the letter box is much preferred. More than half the adults polled said they would be devastated to receive a festive communication over social media instead of a card with 64 per cent saying they think those who don’t bother to send cards have lost the true spirit of Christmas, and 46 per cent said digital greetings are too easy to send, and lack the thought and effort of a handwritten card. Almost one in 10 have defriended someone because they didn’t receive anything from them – and Greeting Card Association president Ceri Stirland is among their number. Thursday, December 14, was the d busiest postal day of the year just gone and saw Ceri, who is UK Greetings’ director of marketing in her day job, featured on BBC’s Breakfast programme this morning to explain how people in the UK love their Christmas cards. In the live broadcast from the main Manchester sorting office, Royal Mail’s Tony Baxter said it would be the busiest of g the year for them with the one office seeing between three and three and half million parcels and letters in 24 hours compared with the two million on a normal Thursday. He added: “It’s a huge challenge, as soon as we finish Christmas one year we start planning for the next. Christmas cards are still really important to us, we’ll handle around about a billion Christmas cards this Christmas.” And Ceri explained: “On an annual basis we send just short of 900million cards across the whole of the UK and over one in 10 of those cards we send at this time of year. So as a nation we absolutely love Christmas cards. “What we’re sending now is more close family and friends, so To Mum, To Dad, To The One I Love, or even To My Pet – we love them.” Asked about the etiquette of sending Christmas cards, what happens if you send one and don’t get one back, Ceri added: “Everybody has their own rule – on a personal basis, I probably give them one chance. If I don’t get one in one year, I wouldn’t give one the following year!”

The Oxfam poll backs up these figures, with eight in 10 of the adults asked admitting they’d hate to see technology taking over one of their favourite times of the year while 83 per cent truly believe more thought and feeling goes into the written word than a quick-fire text message or post. Fee Gilfeather, Oxfam’s head of customer experience, said: “Us Brits love our traditions, and this survey proves our nation is united when it comes to festive greetings. “Electronic messages just can’t replace reading a handwritten message from a well-wisher, or the lovely decoration they bring when strung up at home. “And, unlike some charity Christmas cards, every penny of the profit raised from Oxfam Christmas card sales goes to a good cause – fighting poverty at home and around the world.” Two thirds of those polled admitted they would be offended to receive a Christmas text, festive photo filter or seasonal status update from parents, siblings or a best friend, with seven in 10 saying these types of messages are only appropriate for distant acquaintances. Two thirds of Brits are warmed by the idea of the thought and effort that goes into choosing, writing and posting a Christmas card – while 37 per cent look forward to reading the greeting inside. Half of those polled feel sending a card shows someone really cares – and for one in 10, the sound of a card coming through the letterbox makes them feel a little less lonely. Brits total up some impressive festive figures as they send an average of 23 greetings each year, and spend an average 45 minutes writing them – approximately two minutes on each. Unsurprisingly, parents received the lengthiest messages, while best friends, siblings and children also receive detailed tidings, and more than four in 10 adults said they use Christmas cards as a round robin communication to distant family and friends on what has happened during the year, and seven in 10 consider it a fantastic way of keeping in touch. All in all, these sentiments show the Christmas card industry doesn’t look like slowing anytime soon. And that’s fantastic news for all the retailers out there about to plunge into the rounds of the new year trade fairs and looking at their festive ordering plans for the 2018 season – a mere 11 months away!

Those T who don’t bother to send cards have lost the true spirit of Christmass @greetingstoday

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Greetings Today January 2018  
Greetings Today January 2018  

IT’S STRAIGHT back to business with the January issue as the first trade shows of the new year are about to get underway. Card exhibitors ar...