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See the 1 Number That Shows the Decline in America’s Holiday Spirit

1 minute read

There was a time when postal workers’ bags bulged with holiday cards in December as millions of Americans blasted out family photos and other season’s greetings. In 2002, Americans sent 2.9 billion holiday cards—10 for every man, woman and child. By last year, that figure had decline by half to 1.4 billion, just over 4 per person, according to data that the United States Postal Service provided to TIME.

That follows a general decline in personal mail, as the two following charts demonstrate.

The older you get, the more likely you are to be contributing to that dwindling stock, USPS numbers show, with senior citizens more than twice as likely to mail holiday cards as teenagers, according to figures from 2009.

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Write to Chris Wilson at chris.wilson@time.com