People are planning to send more Christmas cards this year as a result of coronavirus restrictions, according to a survey.
One in 10 adults are planning to send more festive greetings this year, and 55% said sending Christmas cards to friends and family is more important amid the pandemic, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by Royal Mail.
Those who plan to send more Christmas cards this year said they will send up to 10 more than they usually do, the survey of more than 2,000 people showed.
Three-quarters of adults also believe sending a Christmas card is a more meaningful way of letting loved ones know you are thinking of them than a social media message or text.
More than 70% of people plan to send cards to extended family who they may not be able to see, and 65% said they will send them to friends, with fewer people planning to post cards to parents (25%) and grandparents (17%).
Some 5% also said they would send a Christmas card to their local postman, with the same number planning to send seasons greetings to other key workers.
Royal Mail has also said the USA is forecast to be the most popular overseas destination for festive greetings from the UK in 2020, followed by Australia, the Republic of Ireland, France and Canada.
Figures released by YouGov for Royal Mail in 2018 revealed that 64% of adults preferred receiving a card over any other form of festive greeting, and 19% even prefer it to a face-to-face greeting.
That poll also showed the most common reason people celebrate the festive season with cards was because they love displaying them in their homes, as 53% of respondents said, followed by 45% who said they looked forward to reading the messages inside – with the same number saying it was the thrill of receiving something through the post.
Royal Mail said the custom of sending Christmas cards started in Britain in 1840, and people have favoured cards featuring humour and satire rather than traditional imagery in more recent decades.
This year’s Christmas card designs have already been inspired by the Prime Minister’s advice on Monday to be “jolly careful” over the festive period, with cards by retail giant Moonpig and handmade independent businesses already capitalising on the catchphrase.
Mark Street, head of campaigns at Royal Mail said: “This has been an immensely challenging and sometimes isolating year for so many, which is why it is more important than ever to find a truly meaningful way of letting loved ones know that you are thinking of them – even if you can’t be there in person.
“There’s something inherently festive and heart-warming about sending and receiving a physical card through the post, that someone has lovingly taken the time to write.”
The postal company recommended people post their cards early, with the last posting date for second class mail being December 18, and December 23 for first class.
Sending cards early is also among scientists’ recommendations for those wanting to take extra coronavirus precautions this Christmas.
Medical experts have said the risk of spreading coronavirus through the post is “really low” as laboratory experiments suggest it can live on packaging materials like cardboard for a maximum of 24 hours.
But for those wanting to take extra precautions, molecular biology expert Dr Lena Ciric recommended sending gifts to family and friends “at the start of December” so they have time to quarantine parcels for “a few extra days”, and respiratory medicine specialist Professor Ashley Woodcock advised disinfecting Christmas parcels.