Why we are forgoing Christmas cards this year.

Firstly, I hope any of you reading this have been safe from the flooding we have had in the UK this last fortnight. It’s been really bad and my heart goes out to those of you who have suffered with your homes and businesses. Flooding is soul destroying. Sending support and strength ❤

We have decided to not send Christmas cards this year. It might be quite a simple decision for many of you on a similar reducing journey, one you made years ago in the age of email and social media. I am, however, strongly old fashioned about some things and the receiving of mail though the post is one of them. Hell, I still make my kids write old fashioned thank you letters at the ages of 19, 17 and 15! Why? Because I love the gesture that a card or letter brings through my door. The little thought that lands on my mat. It may or may not say much or it may, as some do, be full of a year’s worth of news from friends I’ve not seen in years. There is just something special in receiving (and giving) Christmas cards or any other form of mail.

However, each year we buy so many, most end up in waste afterwards as councils don’t actually recycle them, or there is too much non recyclable glitter or plastic within the card to make it easily separated. Yes, there are recycling points and sometimes they get turned into gift tags if you have little kids, but in truth they mainly end up in the bin when we get fed up with the glitter mess or tired of hoovering pine needles on the other side of Christmas.

I know there are arguments to both sides, that in buying Christmas cards you can donate to a charity. Of course! and that is a decision that is free to be made. However, when the biggest enemy to our planet is climate change and the biggest culprit of that is carbon emissions, we felt there is a kind of irony in buying Christmas cards from somewhere that will then donate a portion back to planting the very type of tree it used to make the Christmas card in the first place. There seems to be a bit of a need to cut out the middle man. Perhaps there are many genuine and ethically recycled Christmas cards that I don’t know about that are made in such a way that do not emit carbon, and maybe someone will point me in the direction, so I can still give a physical card, but then…I guess the postie will have to deliver in his van…more unnecessary travel…but it pays his salary…gah…see the dilemma? Here is a post from the University of Exeter regarding the breakdown of a Christmas card if you’re interested, but be warned, you may soon end up in a rabbit hole!!

So this year, hubby and I have chosen an oak tree to be planted up in Leicestershire in the National Forest. Our hope is that this tree will be part of the revolution and will still be there in hundreds of years protecting our earth, looking over our great great grandchildren who will, hopefully, be far better custodians of their charge than we ever were or are.

We will, ironically (again), use the thing that has had the biggest impact on society’s consumption and carbon output and that is, the internet, to send messages to friends with a little attached link to the tree we’ve bought in their names. Maybe some will be inspired to go for a walk in the national forest in the Spring or Summer.

If you feel inclined to do similar this year, then go for it. Yes, you may feel the wrath of some who feel you’re ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ or ‘forgetting the feelings of others’ or some other reason made to make you feel guilty. It’s up to you. As someone said to me recently about the wearing of a poppy, be it red, white, purple, black or not at all: “it’s not about the symbol, it’s about what you believe in? Well, believe in it and step forward.” Give a physical Christmas card, or don’t give a physical card, don’t worry about what people think about you for either choice, just make the choice because you want to do it and you know why you want to do it.

Organisations in the UK that plant or dedicate trees on your behalf are:

The Woodland Trust

The National Forest

The National Trust

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