Why a Christmas Card Says You Don't Care

The Bah Humbug Column by Louisa Leontiades

It’s the beginning of September which according to retailers means Christmas is almost upon us. I tend to resist the pressure until December when I realize “Oh sh*t – Christmas really IS here.”

But of course by then I should have sent out my Christmas cards.

Let’s see now, I have 20 odd cards to send out to family (obligatory, even though the sentiment is missing) 30 more to send out various friends across the world, all of whom I prefer to send an individually picked card and write a customized line or two – because apparently – a card shows you care. At 50 x £2.00 + p&p, for something that’s going to go in the bin on December 26th, you're bloody right it shows I care. My boyfriend calls it a waste of money. But no matter how online our society becomes, a round robin email just isn’t the same.

Let’s assume my family and friends do the same: 50 x 50 = 2500 cards with envelopes whistling their way around the world. That’s a lot of money, a lot of paper and a lot of carbon. The Royal Mail says it expects to handle 750 million Christmas cards this year.

The back of a fag (to you Americans out that there that means cigarette) packet calculation by ‘Best Foot Forward, a sustainability consultancy, calculated that the carbon footprint for the 750 million Christmas cards sent through the post, taking into account paper, printing and transport, is 36,261 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to the total annual energy use of over 5,300 typical British households.’

So does a card really show you care? No. It shows

A) That you are pretty damn thoughtless about the environment.
B) That you have more money than sense
C) That your Auntie Mabel should stop bleating that “a card is so personal” and sign up for an email address – she can still get an ecard.

Do us all a favour, Show us you care and this year, go green.

Bah Humbug is written by our guest columnist, Louisa Leontinades. When she's not writing for us, Louisa runs Investment Impact, a virtual consultancy that doesn’t cost the earth.

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