Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saying no to Christmas cards- give Christmas hugs instead

According to the Greeting Card Association, every year in Britain alone, we send 1 billion Christmas cards. If you think about it, the number is astronomical, compared to the 65 million people who live in the UK. I have taken the above photo on the 6th November by which point most shops were selling Christmas merchandise. There is a reason why you can buy Christmas stock so soon. I very much doubt that the shops are concerned with your time management and getting things ‘done’ before Christmas. Instead, the greeting card industry wants you to spend and spend. 
The market value of the greeting card industry is worth £1.75 Billion.  That covers all Christmas, occasion cards, and everything in between.  No wonder that we are constantly told that we need to buy cards!

Don’t take me wrong, I love Christmas and I am not against cards in general. There is something lovely about receiving a card from someone with a nice, handwritten message in it. But the reality is, how often does that happen? Instead, if you are anything like me, you will frantically buy a pack of 10 cards at the last opportunity, which are all the same with a generic message already written in for you. Because you can’t think of anything interesting to say, you just sign it under the written text.  Giving cards has become a chore. It’s something that a lot of the time, we do, because we think we have to. We give some many cards every year that we no longer remember why we do it in the first place. Somehow it is also easier to send someone a card than it is to see them in person. Or speak to them on the phone.

Have you noticed something in the above photo as well? Every card is wrapped in a plastic sleeve. Every single one. The plastic sleeve is disposable, just like all single-use plastics and serves no purpose whatsoever other than to protect the card (pointless as these cards are not rare and precious) and to make it look more expensive.  

 Some clever marketing person probably thought how funny the card above is. They couldn’t be more close to the truth. A card (paper) is essentially a piece of tree. For every ton of non recycled paper, you need 24 trees. With one billion Christmas cards sold in the UK alone every year, the amount of resources needed for production is immense. There surely must be a much better way for us to wish our loved ones Merry Christmas!    

My solution is to give Christmas hugs instead. Hugs are free, a lot more personal and there are no landfill entries afterwards. And in the current Trump and Brexit climate, we could probably all do with a hug anyway! I will also be doing something a lot harder than the signing of a generic card. I will pick up the phone and actually wish my loved ones Merry Christmas, or go and see them in person if possible. Because isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

As I said before I am not against cards, just mindless giving without any thought behind it. There are 2 cards that I will be giving this year. Both of them have a reason behind the card and they will be handmade by raiding our recycling bin for some paper, so that no resources are spent in the process. 

If you buy charity Christmas cards, why not just donate the money to the charity directly? I am sure that it would be much appreciated by any charity that you wish to support.  

If I am lucky enough to be your friend, please don’t buy me a Christmas card. Give me a hug or a ring instead. I will appreciate it a lot more. Because to me, it is the thought which counts. 

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