Traditional Christmas cards are still popular

The world's first Christmas card, commissioned by Henry Cole in 1843

The world's first Christmas card, commissioned by Henry Cole in 1843

New research from Royal Mail proves you just can’t beat the warm feeling of having a traditional Christmas card dropping through the letterbox during the festive season.

An overwhelming 72 per cent of Brits would prefer to receive a traditional card this Christmas. Only six per cent would prefer a festive greeting via social media and 10 per cent via text, according to new research from Royal Mail.

When it came to preferred designs, snow scenes topped the list. Almost a quarter, 23 per cent of people preferred a wintry image on their cards. This was followed by: humour (12 per cent); robin (eight per cent); Nativity scene (seven per cent).

In the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, just over a quarter (27 per cent) have written and posted/given out their Christmas cards two weeks before Christmas. Another 27 per cent had written and posted/given out their cards three weeks before the big day.

The research also discovered that more than half of those surveyed (64 percent) still had addresses and postcodes written down in an address book.

Stephen Agar, managing director, consumer and network access, Royal Mail, said: “From the very first cards that we helped send back in 1843 to the millions of Christmas cards we handle each year, we are proud to have delivered season’s greetings across the UK for more than 170 years.

“With the Christmas countdown now underway, Royal Mail is reminding people to get their Christmas cards and gifts in the post before the latest recommended posting dates.”

The latest recommended posting dates for mail to arrive in time for Christmas are: Tuesday, December 20 for Second Class mail; Wednesday, December 21 for First Class mail and Thursday, December 22 for Special Delivery; Friday, December 23 Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed.

Meanwhile, the Greeting Card Association (GCA) Market Report 20162 shows the value sales of single Christmas cards increased to £184 million in the UK with 105 million cards being sold singly.

In addition, the GCA estimates the value of cards sold in boxes and packs at £200 million, with around 900 million cards sold in the UK. This puts total UK Christmas card sales at a value of £384 million.

The first Christmas card was commissioned in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. It was designed by John Horsley. It was printed and hand-coloured.