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Still-popular pastime

November 26, 2012
Steve Schulwitz - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

It has been a long-standing holiday tradition to send and receive Christmas cards during the weeks leading up to the holiday. With the popularity of social media and email, however, people have more avenues to choose when sending holiday wishes.

So is the tradition is being compromised? According to some local residents and the United States Postal Service, it isn't.

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for post offices. According to media relations person Sabrina Todd of the USPS, post offices around the nation are expecting to sort about 17 billion pieces of mail leading up to the holidays. She said more people are using Facebook and email to send Christmas cheer, but there hasn't been a noticeable drop in the amount of holiday mail being sent.

Article Photos

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Joan Sorgenfrei of Rogers City takes a look at some of the Christmas cards for sale in Alpena on Monday. She said she typically sends out about 40 cards and thinks Christmas cards and letters are special for the personal messages they convey.

"I think a lot of people still choose to send cards even with social media out there because it is more personable," Todd said. "Most cards are handwritten and I think people still like to add a personal touch to the cards that maybe you can't do online."

Rodney and June Newhouse of Alpena were doing some Christmas shopping at the Alpena Mall Monday. They said they still take part in the tradition of sending Christmas cards and still appreciate finding them in their mailbox in the days leading up to the holiday.

"Sending Christmas cards to friends, family and neighbors is something we have done for years," June Newhouse said. "We have a lot of friends and family who live out of the area who we won't see during Christmas and cards are a good way to let them know we are thinking about them and when we get them to know they are thinking about us."

Doug Utecht said when sending out cards he and his wife Lilly like to include photos of his family for others to enjoy. He said when he gets cards in the mail he puts them up in his home where people who visit can see them.

"We might not send out as many as we should, but we still do send out cards to those who are close to us. We usually get the family picture taken in October and either have them screened into the cards or just put a wallet size one in the cards," Utecht said. "We hang the cards we get up by the Christmas tree and they are really like another decoration in our home."

Lori Brege said she used to send cards and still enjoys the cards she receives. She said she doesn't send cards anymore because it costs more than what it used to and she would rather spend the money on something else during the holidays.

"I haven't sent out cards in several years. I used to and I still like getting them, but with the cost of cards and stamps it is expensive," Brege said. "I don't want to sound cheap, but I can use that money to put toward gifts. Cards are nice, but they get thrown in the garbage after Christmas and most gifts people will enjoy longer."

Joan Sorgenfrei of Rogers City said she sends about 40 Christmas cards each year and many of them are to people she sometimes doesn't talk to for months at a time.

"I love the personal message a card or Christmas letter has," Sorgenfrei said. "Sometimes there isn't a lot of correspondence with some of the people I send cards, so it is nice to share with them what is going on and to hear about their year."

Todd said many times people put off sending out Christmas cards until just before the holiday. She recommended people not wait. She said due to the high volume of mail being processed the closer Dec. 25 gets the more likely cards and gifts could arrive at their destination late.

"People think it's too early to send out Christmas cards, but it is not," Todd said. "As soon as you have them filled out and addressed get them out. We are really stressing this to our customers because many people like to wait until the last minute and sometimes we just aren't able to get them delivered before the holiday. If you want to be sure they get their card or gift, get them mailed out early."

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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