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 Therefore the idea of sending a card that says “Happy Christmas” seems a bit outdated to me.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.