Warning! The sound of Santa’s sleigh bells will be drowned out by the tapping of mobile phone keypads this Christmas with a record 200 million text messages expected to be sent on Christmas Day and an even bigger number for New Year’s Eve, according to Virgin Mobile Canada.

From ‘wishN u II a hpE xmas to ‘wsh yall a vry hpE nu yr,’ Canada’s skies will be home to not just Santa and his reindeer, but with millions of text messages flying across the country.

One of the main reasons for the growth in texting this year, according to Virgin Mobile, is the growing popularity of mobile phones designed for text-lovers, such as the LG Rumour and Samsung VICE with their full QWERTY keyboards, which make typing a text message easier than eating a turkey!

“Canada’s love affair with text messages is not stopping,” said Chris Baines, Virgin Mobile’s textpert. “QWERTY style phones have been flying off our shelves like it’s Christmas. Oops, sorry it is! But seriously, sending a text is super easy and super fun, so QWERTY style phones have been at the top of many Canadians’ Christmas wish lists this year – even Santa’s.”

The popularity of text messages is also driven by the low cost of sending a text. For as little as 15 cents with Virgin Mobile you can send a standard text to your mum in Montreal, or for just 20 cents to your sister in the UK – and incoming texts are always free with Virgin Mobile. And, like last year, international text message traffic is expected to break new records with many Canadians texting loved ones in countries like the US, China, UK and Greece.

“Text message traffic will peak on New Year’s Eve,” added Baines. “We’re expecting our biggest day for text message traffic on Dec 31st with more than 225 million text messages being sent across Canada.”

Virgin Mobile’s top five text messages for the holiday season are “hpE nu yr”, “kiss ya l8r xoxo”, “I gotta bag of gifts 4 u”, “W84me@mistletoe”, and “xo@midnit?”.

Let’s talk about text. Here are some more facts and figures:

– On an average day Canadians send around 100 million text messages –
on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Virgin Mobile expects this figure
to more than double(1)

– An average of more than 4 million text messages are sent on the hour
in Canada

– Textaholics aged 18-30 will be the biggest texters this holiday
season, sending an average of eight text messages each, twice as much
as last year!(2)