Cary, N.C. — More and more people are opting out of sending Christmas cards in recent years, as the need to get in touch with far-flung loved ones at the holidays is diminished by social media.
Like many mothers, Stacey Mark, of Cary, wants her family and friends to see her daughters grow. In the past, she has always sorted through photos to find the perfect picture to send with her holiday card.
But Mark said she's ending the tradition this year.
"I realized that everyone I want to send cards to is on my Facebook account, so they've seen all the pictures I've taken all year long," Mark said.
A Pennsylvania market research company has studied the decline in Christmas card sales over the past five years.
According to Pam Danzinger, of Unity Marketing in Stevens, Pa., among the people who bought greeting cards, 77 percent bought Christmas cards in 2005.
Last year, that number dipped to 62 percent.
Danzinger said that social networking sites are one reason for the change, but research found that a growing segment of young people are turning to handwritten notes and cards to keep in touch with people.
"To take the time to write a note, say what you feel and send a card, I think, says a whole lot more than going online," said Jackie Freeman, who sent 150 Christmas cards this year. She was shopping at Lynn's Hallmark in Cary Monday.
Lynn's Hallmark manager Sarah Holdman said sending cards at Christmas is a tradition that many still enjoy.
"I really think it's just the warm fuzzy that you get when you get a piece of mail that's not a bill," Holdman said. "A lot of people still want to give that at Christmas."
For the Mark family, cards have been slowly trickling in, but the staircase in their home that's usually lined with dozens of holiday cards is looking much emptier this year.
"I don't feel like I'm missing out, because I know what's going on in everyone's lives," she said.