Are you sending Christmas cards this year?

are you sending Christmas cards?
This is a weird one for me, I’m a huge fan of writing and receiving letters. I’m a natural born card sender, stubbed your toe? I have a card for that very occasion. I love the swish and plonk noise a letter or card makes as it slips through my letterbox and down onto the mat but Christmas cards, well meh, I can take or leave them. Which got me to thinking, will we be sending Christmas cards this year and for that matter – will you?

I have a huge and extended family sprawled across the planet and just the postage prices alone can set us back more than the price of a monthly shop. Whilst I’d love to keep in touch the old fashioned way there are cheaper alternatives which we’ll be employing (for the most part) in order to claw back some cash.

We already buy our cards and gift wrap in the sales. I cut up the cards we’re sent and fashion them into gift tags or new cards but honestly it all seems just that bit too much. Sure you can buy recycled and sure you can recycle the cards and reuse them in the ways I do but I know for a fact a lot of my friends don’t do that and it irks me. And so does the cost of stamps – especially when 50% of my post goes missing.

This year we’ll only be sending to people who we feel a card is really important. Our grandparents, very close friends we rarely see and siblings who live abroad but apart from that we’ll be making personalised daft videos and sending them across these ‘ere interwebs because y’know what? It is 2012 and that’s the kind of thing The Jetsons would have expected from 2012.
We some how managed to get into a loop of sending cards to people we never ever see or have any contact with and I know a lot of people end up doing the same. I have no need nor reason to send a card to the guy I worked with in a shop back in 2003 just because he sent me one. We didn’t really get on then and only send them out of habit. This ends here. The tradition of sending cards is important to me and I like to write long messages and take my time over them but if I’m reduced to just writing ‘Happy Christmas have a lovely 2013′ because I know nothing about someone then honestly I need to check myself before I wreck myself. Ooh youth talk.

I’m not saying either way is right or wrong but this year for us, scaling back the amount of cards we send will save us some money and we’re lucky enough to live in a time where we can be in contact over Christmas via other methods.

I made a quick little video (below) over the weekend on this topic and the comments were really interesting and almost split evenly down the middle.

If you can’t view the embedded version, or are interested in the comments you can click here to hop over to the A Thrifty Mrs YouTube channel.

Will you be sending Christmas cards this year?


P.S. And now I feel all scrooge-y.

P.P.S. Maybe I’m a bit funny about them because my birthday is very close to Christmas and the Christmas post always, always delays my birthday cards?

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  1. I completely agree with how out of control the whole Christmas card scenario can become. I don’t tend to send many myself since I still live at home and my parents do all the hard work, but I always find it ridiculous when my dad insists on sending cards to half his workplace – most of whom he complains about on a regular basis. These are people he sees every single day, so surely a simple Merry Christmas on the last day of work before Christmas would suffice – much more personal than a card anyway (: I do love receiving cards, but when you send them to all and sundry they lose a bit of their meaning. x

  2. Yes, we will be sending cards – but as you mention, to those who really mean something to our lives. Each year we save the ones we receive and favourite ones are displayed again the following year or made into pictures or decorations. Often we do make our own cards from things we save during the year. I think a message or facebook greeting is fine for acquaintances. We see Charistmas as a time of gratitide and a reason to thank those who have enriched our lives. x

  3. I send cards to family and close friends. We get given so many from people we know from the local pub, which is lovely, but means I’m constantly running to the loo to write a spare one out I’ve tucked away in my bag!
    I use old cards for tags, and make my own wrapping paper from recycled brown paper and some glitter.

  4. We only send cards to our parents and grandparents. My fiance hates buying for everyone because it’s just a wasted cost in his eyes. We make a donation to Shelter of what we would have spent on cards for everyone instead.

  5. I post to family and close friends that live too far away with a massive essay in them lol! I also get some for my friends & family that I will be seeing. So in all about 40 cards. I always recycle my cards and make then into gift tags or use them as placeholders at the dining table.

    I do not give every person I know a card, as this would cost me a blooming fortune.

  6. I only send important cards for the family and best friends. I just buy the seperate ones e.g. to mum

  7. Ive always been a big card person until last christmas. Christmas with a 3 month old put a stop to that and you know. Nobody even commented on it.
    I agree, scale down. Captain Planet would be proud x

  8. I agree, the cost is ridiculous. Last year I had my son who was 4 at the time make very simple cards from cards and paper stock I already had. We simply cut out triangles of various festive paper and then cut them into strips. Then we put them together like a jigsaw mixing up the papers as we went along. Everyone thought they were lovely. It was the postage that cost us what could have been an afternoon at a panto with the kids or a trip up to Princes Street Gardens with them which is fabby at Christmas. This year I think we will hand deliver as many as we can to allow us to give the kids a Christmas treat.

  9. I only give cards to those who are close to me. Myself and my boyfriend live with his parents and due to his Father’s job they get over 200 cards at Christmas, eek.

  10. It definitely takes its toll, but I just buy a pack of cheap cards and keep them on me for when I see people, and buy special ones for parents, siblings and boyfriend. I always think cards are so much more personal so it seems a shame to not send them. As long as they’re recycled afterwards!

    Shopped and Dropped

  11. I had a CCC (Christmas Card Cull) last year where I stopped sending cards to people we never see and only ever receive a festive card from. With the hike in postage – I just can’t justify sending someone something that is just going to go into the bin. We also never send/give cards to friends that we are going to see over the season. I have it down to one box of 20 (always bought in the sale) and I always send them on the 1st Dec 2nd class. I have close friends overseas who I always send presents to – I post them out in October (highlighted in my diary no less) and send them surface (4-6 weeks) which saves me a fortune :)

  12. I send “holiday” cards because not everyone is a Christian (and I’m not). To offset the cost of postage, I make them myself. However, that can be a challenge! Many of my friends design their own cards so it’s sort of a tradition that we try to out-clever one another. So that is the incentive to keep it up. But it’s a lot of work!

  13. The cost of postage is hugely prohibitive these days so I will only be sending to those who it is absolutely necessary i.e. elderly relatives. I’m finding within my social circle there is a backlash to present and card giving, not in a bah humbug way just the expense of it all. Your suggestions on how to save money are fantastic but this year my monthly income has become very, very lean after all the bills have gone out. My family have decided not to give presents this year, I’m sad about it but the sense of relief is immense as well.

  14. I now only send cards to the family and friends who I know really like getting cards, such as grandparents. I picked up a pack of 24 cards in the sale last year and I doubt I’ll get through them all, but since the postage has come up I just can’t justify the cost for something 90% of people briefly scan and then stick in the bin / recycling x

  15. My husband and I are going to take a long hard look at our (large) list this year, severely prune it and send to everyone this year with a message in a great many cards that in future we will keep in touch by email. The postage increase is a spur to do something I should have done a long time ago! (And I bought this year’s stamps before the price increase)

  16. I struggle with this dilemma every year and Mr H thinks Christmas cards an Eco-crime. But I love making my family Christmas cards and I love sending and receiving cards. So I think I’ll continue sending Christmas cards but I always buy charity and recycled cards and reuse old cards.

    Ahhh…your blog is getting me excited about Christmas. Squeal.


    Mrs H xxx

  17. I literally only send cards to my family because we always send ‘brother’ ‘dad’ etc specified cards but I won’t bother with friends. There isn’t much point half of the time because we see them in the pub where ‘Happy Christmas’ Can be slurred and in our drunken states means much more :) xxx

  18. The Jetsons – chuckle! I hate sending Christmas cards, seems like a pointless waste of time, except for one to my nanna. I hate receiving crappy cards with robins on & having to string them across the living room like my mum did in 1983 & I hate those card trees too. Room 101 now.


  19. I MAKE my cards every January using the cards from the previous year [and even make the envelopes from recycled paper] I SEND to far flung dearest friends and family who I will not see. I DELIVER some to good friends locally who have helped us during the year [and include a proper handwritten message of thanks]
    I serve on a large National Committee of 24 women – and when we meet in November we each take ONE card [addressed 'for my friend'] and it goes in the basket…and we receive one card. At church we pin ONE card on the big board to everyone, and put a charity donation in the pot [but there's also a set of alphabetical pockets for people to distribute personal cards to friends if they want]
    I try and keep postal costs to a minimum [eg all the ones to my Essex family go in one envelope and my cousin distributes for me]
    But I would not want to give them up completely. That would be very Scrogge-like.
    But thanks for raising the issue early and giving people a nudge about thinking through the issues involved.

    Blessings xx

  20. I hate cards of all sorts and always have done. Harks back to the days when kids would give them out in class and it would be a competition to see who had the most…as one of 6 kids, we’d have the best part of a forest in our house over Christmas! Now I’m known for not sending out cards and no-one cares but they still send them to me..sigh

  21. I send 100+ cards to customers from my business each year and it’s a nightmare. People seem to appreciate them though….and most don’t notice they were picked up in the January sales…. :-)
    I got 200 last year for fifty pence!! Bar-jin!!

    I send close friends and family cards, but most are delivered by hand, so no postage costs or things going missing. Plus that personal touch! I always struggle with presents more, you buy the one cousin you see regularly a prezzie, then feel bad about the rest :-S I love Christmas but it seems like such a mad chaotic rush at the end of the day!!

  22. I always send funny pictures of me in christmas hats or fully inside my stocking (okay, maybe my stocking really is TOO big) to my family members, most of them have iphones now (what a swizzy lot) so it’s free to send them in a text or a funny email that will give them a laugh in the office!

  23. I am totally scaling Christmas down this year (including cards), it gets so OTT and people just throw so much stuff away at the end of it – from food, to wrapping paper, to cards – that it’s just a bit gross.

  24. Don’t feel Scrooge-y! Cards are always lovely to receive, but if people are sending them out of tradition or habit, well where’s the sentiment in that?

    Last year we were so busy we couldn’t send any cards. We sent Jib Jab cards instead (a freebie on a website that puts your faces on carolling elves that dance and sing). People LOVED them! So maybe it’s the thought that counts?

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  25. I am sending cards, even bought some from Lakeland and having them shipped to Canada….


  26. I do send Christmas cards but only to my grandparents, I can delivers cards to my parents and auntie by hand. I don’t give cards to my friends, because at 16-18 they aren’t really interested, although I do swap cards with one or two of them.
    However I will definitely be giving thank-you cards to everyone who have given me gifts or money – I think thank-you cards are really important along with a grateful message inside. I do on my birthday too. xx

  27. I’ll only be sending cards to family and friends who we don’t see very often. I always make my own cards and include a silly photo of my children inside. I think cards are a complete waste of money and end up in the recycling bag – especially those covered in glitter!! and don’t get me started on the cost of postage!!

  28. Well I am happy to be Scrooge like, Christmas is one big con. I wont be posting any, and I won’t be giving any. and I don’t care if I don’t get any back. I can tell people how much I love them and appreciate their friendship in phone calls and emails, at any time of the year.

  29. I’ve just dumped family members who were a waste of space in my life. Saved me on Christmas cards and the money I woulda put in them for their kids. Ever so thrifty and very cathartic. I recommend it!

  30. About two years ago I decided to make a change with my Christmas cards. Rather than forking out a fortune on something that not everyone really appreciates I took the money I would have spent on cards and stamps and made a donation to Cancer Research UK, this gave me use of their e-cards politely letting people know that rather than the traditional card this year I had given some money to a cause close to my heart. I still send a fancy M&S card to the grandparents, their old fashioned and I know they like it, but I feel much happier knowing that my money has gone somewhere it will be used.

  31. After living in the UK for 20 years, last year I finally embraced the card sending tradition and wrote christmas card to everybody, including the next door neighbour I am not really keen on!!!! that is after 20 years of going from the confused: ‘WHY would you write to a person you see at work every day???!!’ to ‘I will never embrace such a ridiculous tradition of spending days and money to write to people I don’t care about, don’t like or actually can’t remember their name without looking into my old address books’. After reading your post and the comments, part of me is telling me that I was right all along; the second part of me thinks ‘but it is an English tradition..’ So I think I will throw a party for the local friends and then combine charity buys with some home made cards. My family is also spread all over the world so I get Oxfam ‘donate a goat’ cards so present and card in one. And most people really appreciate that and actually it is becoming family tradition.

  32. I don’t send cards even for birthdays- I think they’re a waste, £2 for a piece of card that will end up having to go through some massive recycling process to be made into another £2 card and they’re only on display for 1 day! I’d rather put the money towards a better present. Christmas cards are even more of an outrage. I don’t like people getting arsy at me for not getting them a card, I’m more than happy for them not to send me one!

    And I believe we have the same birthday but this has nothing to do with it for me ;)

  33. Its a great idea to send videos instead! :) xxx

  34. I always send cards-it makes christmas christmas :p but here’s a tip if you can, rather than send cards put small messages in handmade stockings, I did this one year and my friends loved them ! x

  35. I think it’s a shame that people dont send Christmas cards anymore. Sure the post has become more expensive, but I think it comes down to the fact that people can’t be bothered to spend a little money on others during the season of goodwill. A box of cards is in expensive, and with postage, it isn’t going to cost you a fortune to send cards to those who matter to you, considering we happily splash out on expensive/unecessary Xmas presents, or buy ourselves that £2 coffee on the commute to work every morning. We all love to receive a handwritten card or letter, but this method is dying out now thanka to the internet. Im all fpr adapting to change but there’s nothing giving and receiving cards at this time of year, its more personal and thoughtful than a quick email.

  36. I think we have all become too selfish – what is wrong with buying an inexpensive box of cards and paying a small price in postage for those special friends or loved ones? It’s part of the tradition of Christmas – the season of giving and goodwill. We’re quie happy to buy that weekly magazine, or that daily commuter coffee, or those crisps and chocolate that we don’t really need, yet we can’t sacrifice say £20 at christmas. I think it’s a real shame.

  37. I do them, but I reckon about 20% of them go in the post. Most of the rest are for local friends, neighbours or people from work so the cost issue isn’t so much of a thing for me. Plus it’d be weird to be in my house at Christmas and not have Christmas cards strung on ribbons from picture rail to skirting board!

  38. I know this is random but when ur in the shower, put conditioner on ur face for a bit.
    It makes ur face softer! Thrifty no? Why spen money on face things when a bottle of face softening stuff is right there?
    Loved meeting u at Cybher.


  39. I love getting cards and sending them! I also write one of those seemingly-universally-hated “round robin” letters…I just let people know what we’ve been doing in the year. Yes, I do send them to people who I haven’t seen for years. Why? Because I love hearing from them, and finding out what they’ve been doing. So I hope they feel the same about me! Every year though, I note that we receive fewer and fewer cards. I make Chrismas cards to sell at craft fairs, so I just use some of the ones I’ve made as ones to send. I probably send between 20 and 30.

  40. i like to make cards for close family, but others get the shop brought one. I do get a card from a house up my road but ive never met the person. weird x

  41. I don’t think I’ll be sending many as I’ve got a new job and its an all male environment and I dont think they’ll be the type to send cards out x

  42. I will be sending them this year, firstly to family (parents, sister and grandmother) and also to my dearest friends. I am lucky to have a wonderful network of extremely sweet and like-minded friends but they all live hundreds of miles from me – the downside to people scattering after university, making friends online and, of course, moving away myself.

    I sent about 7 cards last year to good friends and received only one in return. Most people don’t bother these days but it stills pleases me to send them myself and know that it’ll brighten someone’s day.

    You certainly do have a good point about the cost and again, I’d hope that the cards I sent were being recycled, even if just popped in the recycling box for collection. But I do my best to recycle at my end so that will have to do for me.

  43. You really got me thinking… I do love mail, as you do… But I’m also crazy anal about recycling…
    On that note, I enjoyed stopping by and I’ll be back!! :)
    Tammy xx

  44. I loveeee sending cards and letters through the post! And receiving them in return! I’ll definitely be sending a few xmas cards this year :) xxx

  45. Storing cards from last year can seem ridiculous but this is what I do and then use them to make others to send this year. I do this every year and although, yes, it is more time consuming than just writing in a ready-made one, you can make them quickly and easily. Cutting and sticking isn’t hard and with a creative eye and a bit of glitter, they’re done in no time. The massive bonus is the money you pay is very little, you just need to buy some cheap card and make sure you’ve got all the equipment and Bob’s your uncle. Also, handmade cards are appreciated more as they’re far more personal.

  46. well, this is interesting…we had a good hard look at our christmas card list as well and have decided that between us…2 kids and hubby and me wont be giving each other cards any more but if the kids want to make some, thats fine. also we have decided to send ecards to our friends. but our family and friends that appreciate and really want an actual Christmas card , we have decided to send them one…..
    we have decided to start new family traditions in the family as well, like next year perhaps the 4 of us going and helping the less fortunate..whatever that is , soup kitchen, charity work etc and then the year after that, perhaps each one of us donating what ever we want to charity. I have talked to the kids, (13 & 18) that what ever pocket money they can afford to give is good because at the end of the day …it will help someone and they will feel good that they have helped someone. I would like to think that I am teaching the kids a valuable lesson in life ….that u got to think of others as well as urself. Is that not what Christmas is all about? This brings to my mind one of my fav quotes : I complained bcos I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

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