Rising postal costs and the growing popularity of Internet shopping are persuading many Britons to shun traditional Christmas cards in favour of personalised e-cards.
It's an age-old tradition. The sending of Christmas cards to friends and family over the festive season.
Invented by English civil servant Sir Henry Cole in 1843 its now a billion dollar business globally.
However, this year many are choosing to send their cards by email rather than what some refer to as snail mail.
Sam Heaton is the managing director of e-cards.
"We're up around 12 percent so far looking at the numbers this month. It's a steadily growing market - I think as younger people progress and become more and more familiar with it and pushing it out to the older generation, so e-cards are becoming more popular."
Sam estimates more than 60,000 cards will be sent via the internet each day during their busiest periods.
But it's the cards you can personalise which are really making an impact.
"We've spent a lot of money, a lot of time, it's taken us over 12 months to develop the technology which is bespoke to us. It's user friendly and a user can just upload a photo and drag and drop, it's really simple stuff."
Sam's personalised card business has been going for less than a year.
And it has some way to catch up with the e-card business but he estimates around 30,000 personalised cards will go out over the Christmas period.
Each card costs the same - 99p plus tax and postage. And there's the added advantage of having it delivered without delay.
Retail analyst Richard Perks from Mintel says in time this technology could proof competition for the card retailers.
"I think these new comers are pretty small in the market but if they become more popular then the majors are really going to have to find ways of responding."
E-cards may be free and personalised ones convenient but for many there's no substitute for the touch and feel of a real Christmas card bought on the high street and the thought behind choosing it.
Hayley Platt Reuters.