On the Second Day of Christmas…

6 Dec
…my true love sent to me, a huge pile of Christmas cards. 
Christmas cards are one of those festive traditions that provoke a lot of debate. Many people feel it’s not even worth sending them, in this age of social media and email. They think they’re a waste of money and a waste of resources. They just don’t see the point in these old-fashioned bits of souped-up paper with handwriting inside.  
Which is fair enough, especially if they’re acting out of an eco-impulse to conserve the resources involved in printing and shipping cards. Though I particularly admire people who combine this with donating the money they would have spent on cards to a charity instead (as MummyBarrow is doing over at her blog).  
But for me there is still very much a point to sending (and receiving!) cards. We live abroad from most of our extended family and most of that extended family aren’t actually on email, let alone on Facebook and Twitter. So Christmas cards are often the only direct communication we have all year and are tangible reminders of that person or that family.  
So if you decide to send Christmas cards, what’s the greenest way to go about it? 
Recycled cards – Choosing recycled cards is a great green step to take. It’s a good way of supporting the recycled paper industry. There are also loads of lovely recycled cards to choose from, like this selection from Nigel’s Ecostore.
Charity cards – We always buy charity Christmas cards, but it’s something you have to be careful about. Most retailers stock “charity” cards, where as little as 2% of the cost of the cards go to the named charity (read more about it here). We buy from Card Aid, as they have so many pop-up shops across London that it’s easy to buy them. It means we can choose to support lesser known charities like Knit for Peace.  
Make your own – this is aimed mostly at the crafty amongst us. For some, there’s nothing better than making your own cards and it certainly helps make a card as personal as possible. It’s also a great way of getting children involved in the preparations for Christmas. We’re making some cards this year (by “we” I mean I’m letting my toddler son go mad with finger paints and then assuming his grandparents will be delighted with them!).
Upcycle & Recycle – what you do with the cards you receive is just as important as the cards you send. You can upcycle cards into lots of things, from bookmarks to gift tags for presents. I tend to turn ours into gift tags, though you could also use them if making your own cards for next year. Otherwise it’s important to recycle your cards. In the UK, you can avail of the Woodland Trust’s highstreet recycling centres

One Response to “On the Second Day of Christmas…”

  1. Mummy Barrow December 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Thanks for the ping back! In your situation I would definitely be sending cards. If I didn’t I would get lynched and certainly when abroad there is a real need to keep in touch.

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