If I am being a hard core greenie, I should shun all crimbo cards and send out email versions instead. But I can't. There is something truly lovely about returning home to a little pile of greetings sitting on the door mat. People we haven't seen in ages, spoken to in a while - they are all there waiting with happy tidings for us on a dark afternoon. And if I love returning home to a little stack of cards, how can I deny the joy to someone else?
So, if the electronic version is out, how do I justify the black mark of sending a card - both in manufacture, transportation and deconstruction?
Firstly, I try and get cards which are made from a significant amount of recycled content. This is harder than you may think, but there are some available, including some beauts from Oxfam. This makes me feel a little better. FSC accredited cards are also a possibility and easier to find.
Secondly, I try to get cards which can benefit another person with my purchase - this is the charity card once more, but do not forget that your precious squids can go to both the large international charities or the hospice down the road - most have a card range at this time of year. Whose pockets would you like to line, however small? (it is worth looking at the amount that goes to each charity, which is usually stated on the back of the card)
Thirdly, I think about how the card will be disposed of. If it has any bright spangles, glitter, foil or fancy bits it can be impossible to recycle. These sort of cards can contaminate whole bundles of card, so I avoid them like the plague. AND if you receive any from distant well wishers or Mavis down the road make sure you only place the 100% card bit in the recycling bin after crimbo.
Fourthly, can I incorporate a gift with the card, thus doing two jobs in one (surely this will act as a plus against my guilt???). Some you buy ready done, but how about fashioning your own - a gift card slotted in (do you really need another card and envelope for this?), a pair of earrings, a book token, a charm - nothing too delicate or expensive, but there are a myriad of possibilities.
And lastly, does it say something about me? Now this is not as self centered as you may think. Cast your mind back to the last time you bought a card - I can bet you chose one that was most appropriate for the person you were buying for but also one which you liked or said something about your own likes and character... And so it is with my cards - they never say 'merry christmas' (I am not christian) but usually 'seasons greetings', they never have spangles (see note three above), are mostly nature based or fifties in appearance and are quite graphic. This is me.
So - send your cards and spread a little love, as green as you can manage.