This article (and others about making Christmas more natural) refers to the traditional Christmas. If you have other beliefs, then do the mental editing to suit or else congratulate yourself that you do it differently and avoid a lot of the excesses. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, skip this article… but you probably wouldn’t have read this far if you’re a member of the Bah-Humbug Club.
C.S. Lewis, while not a full member of the Bah Humbug Club, loathed the practice of sending Christmas cards and once commented that if, at Christmas, less goodwill towards man was going through the mail, there would be more peace on earth. However, the practice of sending Christmas cards is not such a bad one, and is a good way of letting your distant relatives know that you are still alive and at least nominally ready to maintain friendly relations with them. It’s also a good chance to let people know of new addresses, if you’ve moved house through the year but haven’t got around to letting everyone know of your change of address.
However, you can make Christmas cards a bit more natural and environmentally friendly instead of adding to the masses of paper and cardboard that get added into the waste system and swell the landfills ever larger.
1. Make your own Christmas cards using a computer and some uploaded family photos. This is becoming more and more popular, and in many ways is a return to the origins of Christmas cards – a greeting from your family to another. Print on both sides of the paper to reduce waste.
2. Send electronic Christmas cards. This is an option, but it does seem less friendly and warm. There’s something about a piece of paper that a person has physically touched and written on – call me a bit mystical, but it’s probably something spiritual (which is rather relevant to Christmas, after all – the word made flesh and all that). Tangible Christmas cards that people send you make cheerful Christmas decorations, and some older relatives may not be online. But it does save on waste.
3. Make your own Christmas cards. You can use a whole heap of natural and/or recycled materials here to make cards. Any thick cardstock will do for the actual cards, and what you stick on them is up to your imagination. A good way to fill in a boring wet afternoon in November. They don’t have to be perfect – even a wobbly home-made card beats a mass-produced one.
* Dried flowers and grasses (start pressing them a few months out). Dried grass plus a cut-out picture of a baby makes an instant manger. Decorate with glitter and stick-on stars. Use a hot glue gun to stick bulkier items on.
* Bits of last year’s cards cut up. If you just stick a complete front of an old card on something new, this looks cheap and stingy. If you cut out bits and pieces from old cards – the words from this one, a picture from that one, an illuminated capital from another – and make them into a collage.
* Junk mail. If you are suffering from that deluge of junk mail, you can put some of it to use – you can often find suitable motifs printed on them ready to use.
* Other odds and ends. It always pays to have a box of odds and ends for collage, card-making and scrapbooks. Coloured card, shells, scraps of shiny stuff, material, ribbons, feathers and beads are all suggestions.
* Potato prints and stencils. Go for a bold, simple design such as a star or a pair of bells if you’ve never done this before.
4. Send tiny Christmas cards, if you can get hold of them or make them. These have a daintiness and delicacy that is quite charming. And smaller cards mean less raw materials and less waste at the end.
5. Recycle your Christmas cards once the season’s over. They’re paper, after all! But don’t forget to save a handful of good ones for making next year’s cards.
Nick Vassilev founded Anyclean, his London based domestic cleaning company, back in 1998. Nick is an expert on cleaning and loves to help people with his cleaning tips, articles and knowledge. If you would like to know more about his cleaning company, please visit http://www.anyclean.co.uk.