Will Christmas cards survive social media generation?

Viral video Christmas cards, online greetings compete with traditional practice

By Sean Lavin - Producer

Park Avenue, in downtown Winter Park, really gets in the Christmas spirit.

[WEB EXTRA: Christmas video goes viral]

And as you stroll down the quaint avenue, with live Christmas music being played by a pianist as shoppers enjoy lunch, you'll come across The Paper Shop. The store sells Christmas cards and has been in business for 32 years.

"It's very different now, with social media and viral cards and all that," store owner Ellen Prague said. "Business is a little bit less than it used to be."

Prague admits the Internet has given her competition when it comes to selling Christmas cards. But now that social media is getting a bit older, she's seeing hope for the original tradition.

"It's almost to the point now where it's turning around again and cards are becoming something … very much like a gift now," Prague said.

Young people, from the smart phone generation, Local 6 caught up had big doubts about the future of Christmas cards.

"It's kind of like a lost thing," said Megan Tiralosi. "It takes so much time, it's easier to send a text or post on Facebook."

"I still say, like, Merry Chrristmas to all my friends and stuff like that," said Matthew Krecicki, "but I think Christmas cards have kind of become like a lost tradition."

People from older generations Local 6 caught up with had no plans to replace Christmas cards with a Facebook post.

"We sent about 32 family Christmas cards," said Rene Guerster. "We've been doing that for the last 40 years, with pictures of the kids."

Loyal paper shop customer Julie Walbroel reminisced about her wedding invitations and other beautiful paper cards she's bought there over the last 20 years. She thinks the traditional Christmas cards, and the internet, can continue to coexist.

"When you really do have that special occasion and you want a quality (card), you come here," Walbroel said.

And whether it's a Christmas card or a thank you note, Walbroel believes the personal touch means much more than an internet greeting.

"I actually think that person like cared about me," she said. "I think that's the hard part I think about just doing mass (internet greetings) -- the quality is not there."

That desire for quality was even shared by the younger generation on Park Ave.

"It's just kind of nice getting something in the mail -- you can see it," Krecicki said, adding that he can see how a traditional Christmas card could mean more than "a text that's immaterial."

And that comment from an 18-year-old who grew up in this digital age, gives some hope that the Christmas card tradition that started 170 years ago may last for years to come.

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