Why do you send Christmas cards? Well, when I was young, you couldn’t just visit aunt Lida in Canada to wish her Merry Christmas. A quick phone call was also impossible. She didn’t have a telephone line, living in the middle of nowhere. But to let her know she was still part of the family, thought of and missed, you would send her a Christmas card (which, I must admit, would or would not arrive in this middle of nowhere).
Basically the same was the case for aunt Betsie in Amsterdam. Too far away, and a phone call too expensive. She also would get a Christmas card. Everybody else you would visit on one of the Christmas days (or see them in church) and wish them Merry Christmas in person.
Then, when I left home, I would only send a card to parents and best friends.
Usually home-made. Cross stitched, quilted, paper cut, you name it I did it.
There would never be more than about ten cards involved. And, in the old days, just postcard style, without an envelope.
Can you imagine the shock I got when I got involved with someone from the UK, and in the end even moved to the UK?
It almost seems easier to determine whom you won’t send a Christmas card.
There is not enough wall space on a narrowboat (and window sills are non-existent) to hang all the cards one receives!
Half the space at Tesco at the moment is dedicated to Christmas cards (try to find a birthday card for someone who, unfortunately, was born on the 23rd…).
The appropriate wishes are already printed on it, so just add your name and a couple of XXX’s and that’s your conscience clear for the next eleven months.
All double cards, most with an extra sheet of paper inside, plus an envelope, and all wrapped in plastic, with a price sticker on. How many trees are used for something that decorates the house for two weeks and then ends up in the fire or in the bin?
Something that is bought in bulk and sent in bulk? Nobody nowadays tries to find just that one specific card that contains exactly the Christmas wishes you want to send to Ann, or depicts a scene similar to one you experienced with Carol, some time last year.
Living in the UK I resumed my habit of sending e-cards. Home-made, clearly referring back to some situation of the year gone by, sent to friends with a personal message. Saves money, but not time, of course. It definitely takes some time to design and make an e-card that I consider to be nearly perfect.
This year Lawrance sent my carefully made e-card to his friends and family, by pressing just one button. Conscience clear for the next eleven months? Can one actually think of all the recipients when you send a card this way? Isn’t that the aim of sending a card?
Any impact on the recipients? No. When meeting one of them in person, she thanked Lawrance for the e-card, and when Lawrance mentioned that I made the card, she said:
“Oh? I didn’t realize that”.
So she didn’t even look at it; you won’t find e-cards with WRT in the background, clearly in a 1850-ish setting.
Luckily, sending all these e-cards didn’t involve a lot of trees (only the energy to charge computer and phone).
But, do we need all this, I wonder?
Do we need all these cards, with Christmas, New year, Valentines Day, Birthdays?
Do I need to get a Christmas Card for Lawrance, when I can wish him Merry Christmas as soon as he gets out of bed?
Do we need all that food? A Christmas cookie with 242 kcal, being 12% of your daily reference intake? Are Christmas calories not as fattening as non-Christmas calories?
Do we need all the Christmas lights? Can you see all your lights outside your house?
Do we need all these gifts? Do we need a silly Christmas jumper? Or all these new clothes?
Do we need to spend all that money?
Have a look at The Carbon Cost of Christmas. Forget about the actual numbers, I can’t check how accurate they are. But have a look at the over-all subject.
Am I the only one who feels a bit uncomfortable, today?