ORLANDO, Fla. - It's 2011, and people have found new ways to communicate.
Some use the Internet to keep friends and family updated on their lives. Facebook users upload more than 250 million photos to the social-networking site each day. Others choose to send Twitpics or share photos and updates on their cellphones.
More than 800 million people know how to use Facebook, but a growing number of young adults don't know how to address envelopes or write letters.
Rob and Linda Moore, formerly of Frewsburg and now of Orlando, Fla., have been using Christmas cards to keep in touch with friends and family for 34 years. Above, they are seen in their 2010 Christmas card photo with their daughters, Michelle and Mandy; their son-in-law Scott; and their grandchildren: Cayden, 6; Tyler, 4; and Hailey, 2.
There are more important things to focus on in school and in life, apparently.
How is it that when the ways we keep in touch with others have changed so much that millions still sign, seal and stamp Christmas cards each December? Is there still value to hand-written correspondence and a printed photo?
Linda Moore thinks so.
England's Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design the first Christmas card in 1843, according to Hallmark's website. The Christmas-card idea traveled west to the United States 32 years later.
Moore, a former Frewsburg resident, put the finishing touches on her first batch of Christmas cards 34 years ago. That was shortly after she and her husband, Rob, got married.
Eight years later, the Moores moved to Orlando, Fla., leaving the vast majority of their friends and relatives behind. The Moores live 1,200 miles away from their original Frewsburg residence.
She kept sending Christmas cards each year.
"Friends and family are your lifeline," she said. "See how they're doing and send them well-wishes. It just seems like the time of year to do that."
According to Hallmark research, nearly three-quarters of card senders do so because they believe it feels good to receive a holiday greeting. Christmas is the largest card-sending holiday in the United States, with approximately 1.5 billion cards sent annually, the company's website reports.
When her two children were young, Moore learned the value of enclosing a family photo within each envelope.
Once the kids grow up and move out, many families choose to stop sending photo Christmas cards. Moore's children now have kids of their own. She could've stopped sending photos to relatives in Western New York years ago.
As a grandmother, however, she thought it was important to continue the tradition. Moore began including her three grandchildren in family Christmas photos.
"We're so far away, but the pictures always help because the people up north don't get to see the children or grandchildren grow up," she said.
Not only do the Moores send a photo card to friends and relatives each year, Rob writes personalized letters on what's going on with the family, which are inserted into each card.
The Moores have email capability. They could keep up with friends and relatives on their computer, but Moore wants her friends and family to have something they can hold onto; something that's not found on a computer screen. "Maybe it's old-school, but it's a more personable way to communicate than doing email. Emails are great in a way, but at Christmas time I try to do something a little more personal."
Most people must be old-school. According to Hallmark figures, more than 20 cards get mailed for every one that's emailed.