THE LOS ANGELES TIMES reports ...
The war in Iraq and other world events have influenced customers' choices in cards this year, according to Isabel Loriente, merchandise manager of the gift shop at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.
"People are looking for more heartfelt sentiment, more about peace both in the world and personally," she said. "Not that there is anything wrong with a 'Merry Christmas,' but the cards I see people moving towards are not as frivolous."
Shoppers at the Roman Catholic cathedral — who include many non-Catholics — also seem to be passing up cards decorated with candy canes and nostalgic Americana in favor of direct religious messages and imagery.
"They see the secularization of Christmas and understand that component but also want to confirm the religious identity of Christmas," Loriente said.
The shop's best-selling card has a cover photo taken by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of the statuary Nativity scene on the cathedral grounds. Inside, it reads: "May the gift of Christ's love and peace bring you joy this Christmas and throughout the New Year."