Why I am not sending Christmas cards this year

I decided earlier this year that I will not be writing Christmas cards this year but instead I will be donating the money I would have spent on the cards and stamps to Victim Support.

I saw Lisa Faulkner (actress and foodie) tweet that she was doing the same thing for Crisis at Christmas last night.   Followed by my friend Sarah who is doing it for a support group for victims of domestic abuse called Taking Steps.   So I know I am not alone in my thinking.

There are a couple of reasons why I am doing this.

Firstly I don’t really see the point of Christmas cards anymore.   Since the advent of email / Facebook and Twitter we are more connected to friends and family on regular basis, much more so than we were 20 years ago.   Therefore the idea of sending a card that says “Happy Christmas” seems a bit outdated to me.

Especially when it is handed over in person and opened there and then.  Can’t you just say it face to face with a hug?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.  Really I am not.   I just think things have changed.

Long gone are the days of asking after an old school friend and hearing “oh yes we get a card at Christmas”.  If that is still the case, why bother?   Is your friendship really worth anything if you only ever send a card at Christmas and haven’t seen them since 1987?

And don’t get me started on those round robin newsletters about Freddie rowing for England at the age of 6 or Bunty doing her A levels at 4.     I could write a whole post on “love and kisses from Smug Mother” letters.

The second reason is one of trying to be more environmentally friendly.  We send a card, it goes up (stapled to a ribbon and hung from the door) or on the mantelpiece (which I don’t have anymore) and then what happens to it?

It used to be that I tore off the front bit and used it for a shopping list throughout the year.  But I am never organised enough to write a list anymore so have no use for a picture of a reindeer post January.  I feel guilty just throwing them away.   So I put them in a box and store them away.   That poor tree has died in vain really.

We spend around £320 million on Christmas cards in this country.   Think what that money could do for charities.  Or just staying in the pocket of cash strapped families who are desperately trying to make ends meet.

“But there are charity cards” I hear you cry.   Yes, there are.   But typically only 6 to 10% of the price goes to the charity.  The rest of the profits are kept by the store.   I am not denying that 10% (and in rare cases it is as much as 50%) is still a valuable source of income for charities.   But for me I would rather it was more.

And with the cost of a stamp now at 36p for second class and a whopping 46p for first class it is a really expensive exercise.

So this year, you won’t be getting a card from me I am afraid.   I would rather give the money to Victim Support, and give you a hug in person.

And anyway, you don’t need a card to go with the monster present I have bought you, it has a gift tag on it.    Though, actually, maybe I could donate the cost of the wrapping paper as well, and wrap all my presents in foil like I used to when I was seven.

Now there’s a thought.

 

 

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  • Yes I agree with all of these things – they cost a fortune, money better spent elsewhere and so on. But the joy of receiving cards through the post is a lovely old-fashioned pleasure that we simply do not get the rest of the year (with all our emails, twitter and so on). I don’t give cards to people I see everyday but as another way to keep in touch with people at Christmas time. (I have blogged recently on why I do send cards!).

    • Thanks for your comment, you are right, I hadnt thought of the joy they bring to some. I was very much focussed on my situation and I don’t have aged relatives or old school friends really. I do see people regularly so think it is bit unnecessary. But you are right, there is something to be said for something other than a bill landing on the door mat.

  • We didn’t send any last year and will not be sending any this year either. Cards to immediate family have been made by my wife this year (shes all crafty) and they all look a lot better than anything you can buy in the shops.

    As for foil wrapping! That stuff is expenxive, whats wrong with the carrier bag that you bought it in?

  • I’ve been thinking the same thing and I have bought cards already. But your blog has changed my mind. This year I will send cards but only to those I don’t see regularly or keep up with on Facebook (which is mostly elderly relatives)…you just cut my list in half! Happy Christmas MummyB (and Mr. B0 from across the pond!
    @emmiebyrd

  • I recognise the sentiment – but I love writing cards and I absolutely adore wrapping presents [it satisfies the ‘OCD square it off’ urge that compels me!] so I’m afraid I’ll be doing the whole shebang. There was a time when every card I wrote would have an extended essay within it of well wishes and messages of love – but that has diminished over the years. Which is good or I’d have to start writing cards in July.
    Just picture me, slaving over a red hot pair of scissors and clear gift tape, tongue poking out of the corner of my mouth, while I get the slide rule out to make sure everything is symmetrical. 🙂

  • I find most Christmas cards irritating to receive and most of those I send back a chore to write – but there are a handful that I find hugely rewarding, which are those with an old-fashioned letter inside them. These, to me, are as valuable – in fact probably more so – than Christmas presents. Ironically at least one of them comes from a friend who I’m in touch with regularly via Facebook, even though I haven’t seen her for years (she lives in the States) – but a proper old-fashioned letter is just bliss. The card’s not significant – but in our busy lives, Christmas prompts us to exchange letters at least once a year, and long may it continue!

  • i do agree with you on so many levels BUT i do like receiving christmas cards and sending ones especially since we started making our own. hmmmm will give this some thought though x

  • Sorry I don’t agree. Either you give to charity all year round or you won’t bother. Because the truth is you can’t be bothered with all that card writing and envelope addresssing because it’s time consuming. People make this statement to get out of what they see as a ‘chore’ and dress it up as doing something worth while. I think it’s sad that one can’t be bothered with this tradition and to make friends and loved ones happy to receive something lovely in the post. If you really want to make a difference, we spend the most horrendous amount on Christmas presents so let’s not do that and give that to charity I think that will far exceed the amount we spend on cards and why stop there let’s move on to what we spend on food and pure gluttony! I understand the average family will spend £800 in the name of Christmas.. The simple act of a card is small compared to all we spend over Christmas.

    • Really? Do you know anything about me? Do you know anything about my trips to refugee camps and raising money for World Vision? Or my trips to Africa with Comic Relief and being part of a group of bloggers who have raised almost £100,000 for them in the past four years?

      No you do not.

      You have no idea what I spend on Christmas presents or how I buy things on line through Give as You Live so that money earned on every purchase is channeled to my favourite charities rather than my pocket.

      Please dont jump on my blog after a google search and make assumptions about how I live my life and why I dont want to write christmas cards and how my family feels about it.