Don’t just write your well-wishes, get your greeting cards to sing and dance for you!
It’s that time of year where you can feel the magic in the air – Christmas season. Greeting cards and gifts are carefully chosen and exchanged over gatherings.
At some point in our lives, we would have sent or received a Christmas card, but do you know about its origin? Well, the first Christmas cards came about in 1843, commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London and were sold for a shilling each. Back in the day, flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that signified the coming of spring were commonplace.
Fast forward to today, paper-based Christmas cards are making room for a new breed, the e-cards. More and more design-it-yourself greeting card websites have sprung up over the last few years. Even long established companies like Hallmark, whose business lies in making paper-based cards, embraces this new trend by offering e-card services for every occasion.
There are now websites that plugs into photo sharing social networks, namely Instagram, to turn favorite snapshots into a printed greeting card. Numerous options are available to personalize, and produce a thoughtful, one of a kind greeting card.
It is no secret that sales for traditional cards have been falling over the years with the rise of digital cards. A 2015 report from IbisWorld, a research firm that monitors the greeting cards industry, reveals a slump in the sale of traditional cards — including some other printed products like diaries — by as much as 60 percent over the last decade, to $5 billion a year.
Another contributing factor is the rise of postage costs for sending cards, making their digital counterparts look more appealing instead. While some online services are payable in order to create a greeting card, there is little to no cost involved to record a video greeting that is hosted on Youtube.
The increase in digital cards is also fueled by recent developments around recycling to reduce impact on the environment. There are dedicated organizations that go around every festive season to collect and recycle greeting cards to raise awareness about recycling. Donations gathered from supporters are used to plant more trees while trying to save paper.
Beyond template digital cards, recent developments in tech allows novel ways to create personalized festive greetings and some examples are the popular ElfYourself and JibJab websites that still makes the rounds every Christmas season.
All you need is to upload your photos along with your friends’ photos and the website will turn it into an animated greeting clip. Faces from the uploaded images are superimposed onto the bodies of elves. For those who crave for something that is more interactive than a paper greeting card, this is perfect.
For Android smartphone users, put a clever twist on your paper-based greeting cards by attaching NFC labels to them. Once you tap your NFC-enabled phone on the card, you can launch a pre-recorded video message that plays immediately without any further actions. To do this, all you need are NFC tags, an Android smartphone and an app to program the NFC tags with your preferred action.
Now, with social media, season’s greetings can get more exposure past the usual mailing list. One of the more popular apps is SnapChat with Christmas-themed camera lenses and filters.
Will you go beyond traditional paper-based cards and flex your creative muscle this year?
Top image credit: Wikimedia Commons.