'A completely different kind of year': How pandemic will influence what you see in greeting cards this holiday season

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the biggest challenges facing the greeting card industry this year is what sentiment do people want to send out this year?

It has been a disruptive year that has impacted holiday cheer.

Yes, it's August. Tis the season for greeting card companies to start designing and crafting messages for their holiday cards.

But in a year of stress, anxiety, disruption and sadness, will "merry" be the right sentiment?

Families who create their own photo cards will be wrestling with the same messaging challenge.

Does the traditional kids' photo convey the right image during the pandemic?

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Jim Hilt is president of Redwood City based Shutterfly.

"It is just a completely different kind of year, and because of that, we think there's going to be a lot more creativity in terms of the photos that they're taking," Hilt said.

Shutterfly is projecting people will want to connect with family and friends this year after months of social isolation.

A survey indicates 62 percent will send holiday cards this year, up from 55 percent in past years.

Sentiments won't ignore COVID-19 but will try to inject some light-hearted humor.

At San Francisco based Minted, a change in mood is being detected.

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"There has been a shift a bit more, a bit away from the humor and a bit more towards sentimentality and more heartfelt, meaningful messages that allow people to connect with family," said Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy.

Minted already learned how to pivot quickly when graduations went virtual and weddings were postponed.

So it's preparing to change holiday sentiments as late as Thanksgiving if there's a mood shift.

Hallmark has writers that come up with sentiments. They're gauging mood by following current events and social media posts as they write.

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"It's just things that are coming out of our heart that we know that we think we'd want to say to somebody, maybe somebody would want to say to us," explained Hallmark senior writer Kat Stano, who has been writing card sentiments there for 16 years.

She shared with ABC7 News a verse she wrote that's under consideration.

"A Christmas with peace and soft twinkling light. A warm cozy corner on a cold winter night. A place at the table with family and friends. A feeling of hopefulness that never ends."

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