Despite loving Christmas, I don’t send Christmas cards.
It’s not that I hate sharing festive cheer and good wishes with my loved ones. I love the holiday spirit. Selecting the right gifts to give to people, spending time with family and friends during the winter, the message of love and joy… I love all of these.
But there are things I don’t love about Christmas cards.
Writing them takes forever!
I can’t be the only one who remembers long evenings in primary school sitting at the kitchen table writing out cards for everyone in school, can I? It took forever. And at least you didn’t have to address envelopes then. And you probably had a class list you could work from, whereas now it’s much harder. You have to try and remember whether your husband’s cousin Liz is married to Mark or Michael or Matthew. If you’re doing them for everyone in the office, was the new guy in IT Jake or Jack?
And all of this is on top of all of the other extra work Christmas brings for you. Yeah, that’s not happening.
Most people don’t really appreciate them.
I don’t mean that everyone is ungrateful. But how much can you really appreciate “Dear Mary, Merry Christmas, from John”? Especially knowing that John sent the exact same message to everyone else in the office?
I think most people would far rather have a nice chat with John where you talk about each other’s Christmas plans and maybe eat a mince pie or two. Obviously the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but if Mary is just going to look briefly at the card after John spent three hours writing them to everyone he’s ever met, then the effect seems disproportionate to the effort.
(I’m going to add in here that I do enjoy receiving Christmas cards. I like to know that people are thinking of us, and I appreciate the time taken to write them. But, as you can probably tell from this list, I’m also very much not offended if we don’t receive cards from people.)
What happens to all that paper and card?
In a lot of areas, “shiny” card and paper still can’t be recycled. While there are loads of craft opportunities to be had with old Christmas cards, I’m willing to bet that most people just throw them in the bin when they’re done. I know I’m guilty of this – except I usually keep them in a cupboard for weeks before doing this, promising myself that “this year, I will do something with them.”
Choosing the “right” cards can be a minefield.
I think this is a bigger issue across the pond. The “Merry Christmas”/”Happy Holidays” controversy is largely overstated, in my opinion. I’ve had (and given!) Merry Christmas cards to friends who are Sikh or Hindu and I’ve had Muslim friends wish me Eid Mubarak, and no one has been hideously offended.
But apparently the risk is there.
So how do you pick the “right” card? Do you go for something religious? I’m Catholic. Will that offend my atheist colleague, and will he think I’m trying to push my religion on him? Should I pick something funny? Well, my friend who’s a nun might prefer the religious card. Something that just talks about generic winter holidays so that my non-Christian friends don’t get offended? Do I have to buy different cards for each of these subgroups? Do I need to poll everyone in the office to find out who subscribes to what religion?
I suppose I could just take the “easy” way out and get photo cards made of the baby or the rabbits. The first year we were married, we did that with Ned and Gingee. But getting photo cards done is so expensive, and then you have to pay to post them all on top of that. It doesn’t seem worth it.
The money can be better spent elsewhere.
So I’m choosing not to spend anywhere between £50 and £100 (a rough guess) on pieces of folded paper, and putting it somewhere where it’ll make a difference instead.
In the past, we’ve donated to the Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs (we donate to them year round and sponsor a puppy) and Support Adoption for Pets (who looked after Barbara before she came to us). We’ve also given the money to people we see regularly who are homeless.
I haven’t yet decided where a donation would be best placed this year.
When we can spare more, I’d like to be able to set up a fund at either our vets or Ned’s specialist to help bunnies whose owners are struggling to afford necessary treatment. However, that can get pricey very quickly, so £50 is a drop in the ocean. But it’s on my ten-year plan!