End of greetings by post on cards
Some Eid traditions have stood the test of time, but others are destined to become relics of another age.
As paper communication drifts into its twilight years and the world becomes ever more closely knit through the Internet, the practice of sending holiday greeting cards by post is falling prey to the times.
“These are personal,” he says of an even skimpier array of glossy, brightly coloured cards.
Asked if they sell, he answers frankly: “Not that much, not like before. Years back, we used to sell in bulk. Nowadays card sales have gone very much down because of emails and such. There are so many ways to communicate now.” He says some companies still buy Eid cards to exchange in a professional setting, but very few customers purchase them for personal use.
Even in the business world, the practice of sending holiday cards has dwindled with electronic communication becoming the norm. “We used to make an effort to mail these cards to our business contacts, and it would be reciprocal,” says a senior executive at an Abu Dhabi-based oil company, recalling how cards from business associates used to be prominently displayed in the office for weeks leading up to and after holidays.
“Now most companies prefer to use electronic cards, which take no effort. With just a click of a button, you can send it to 300 people. And likewise, the people who are receiving it don’t think much of it. In a way, the personal relationship is being weakened. It’s a subtle change in the social set-up — we’re moving away from the personal touch.”
His company still sends out holiday cards, but on a much limited scale compared to years past.
In spite of the ease and reach of electronic communication, some still hold on to the tradition of sending cards on special occasions. Kelly and Alex browse leisurely at a local Hallmark shop, ticking off the events they want to commemorate by mailing a card — Australian Father’s Day, a birthday, a wedding anniversary. “We’re getting cards for all that,” says Kelly.
Apart from her 90-year-old grandmother, she doesn’t know of anyone else who still takes the trouble to buy a card and write out a personal message. “Facebook reminds you to do things, computers remind you that you can just click and send an e-card. But this is so much more personal. It just means you really thought about them instead of the computer telling you to do it,” she says.
Cards may be a dying custom, but that only increases their value for those who still receive them. “It’s just nicer than an email,” says Alex.