Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas Card Ethics

Always use a ballpoint pen when
writing cards

We are racing through pointless Chrimbo cards to deliver to our neighbours, who we see every few days anyway. Poor Mrs G does the bulk of the work; I can't write, courtesy of being left-handed, and typing a lot, thereby losing the habit.

So we have developed a good system. Mrs G writes the cards, then I scrawl my name, stick on an address label and lick the envelopes. I like this bit. I feel with every lick I can taste a bit of old China, or Malaysia, and sometimes Hong Kong. (We don't spend much on our cards.) So I just enjoy the ghost of Peking Duck or Singapore Noodles, complete with green tea, and food poisoning.

Anyway all that's easy. Harder is tackling the Moral Maze of Christmas cards. There are several thorny issues. Here's some guidance for you.

One. Do I send them at all? Each year we get more and more e-cards, and a high-horse message telling us the money saved will be donated to charity. Yeah, right. Sure you do. Prove it and send me the accounts. Verdict: If you don't want to send a card, don't send anything. e-cards suck like a new Dyson.

Two. Do I send a card to Great Aunt Agatha again this year? I haven't seend her in thirty years and if one is honest with oneself, one is just hoping for a modest legacy when she pops off some time fairly soon. Is that the spirit of Christmas? I think not. Verdict: Yup, send it. She actually shuffled off this mortal coil in 2003 and her grasping kids got the mansion. At least I can annoy them with the card.

Three. Do I enclose a form letter with interesting highlights of my year? Verdict: Absolutely not. Ask yourself this: do you like receiving them? We received one this year detailing the contents of a child's blazer pockets. I don't give a stuff about your favourite films or your top ten recipes either. Save your breath and the planet. A simple hand-written 'hope to see you in 2010' will suffice.

Four. Do I give a card to the postman with a fiver in it, in response to his cheery card dropped in earlier in the week? Verdict: No. If he can't be bothered to say hello during the week, he doesn't deserve it, and he's on strike most of the time anyway. His card was a cynical attempt to gain a tip and should be used to light the christmas fire. If you have to give him something, a curly-wurly and/or a mince pie is ample.

Five: Do I send a card to my curmudgeonly neighbour who never gave my strimmer back and whose dogs leave wet little presents in the swing set? Verdict: Yes. It's a good opportunity to send a little reminder. Write a cheery message like 'Seasons greetings to you and your canine chums. Have you tried dried dog food? Where's my bloody strimmer?'

So there it is. I hope that eases some of those nagging seasonal stresses for you. And by the way, Merry Christmas. We won't be sending out cards this year, but will instead be buying a bigger turkey and a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape to go with it. The '95. Cheers.


  1. E-cards are so lame I would automatically cross the sender off the list if I got one. Send to Great Aunt Agatha, just in case...

    Do I like receiving letters from you? Well you never send me one...oh, you mean in general do I like them? Very rarely have I read one and thought, wow, I really appreciated that.

    Don't bother with the fiver. Those guys keep striking and making our lives a misery.

  2. Excellent advice that I will certainly be taking. And my e-curly-wurly is on the way to you, virtually..
    Merry Christmas!

  3. so we're living in a state of global, er, badness and there's an econimic downfall or whatever and people are still buying and sending christmas cards. idiots. pfffft

  4. I’m with you on number five – I would love to send my neighbour something along the lines of “Happy Christmas to you and your five feline friends…we are so pleased that they have not suffered from constipation this past year, and, while we are eternally grateful for the free fertilizer they’ve provided for our front garden, might we be so bold as to suggest that you stop feeding them such cheap and nasty cat food, as the quality of the end product is decidedly poor. And, if you’re looking for something to fill your days over the holiday season, perhaps you can get around to putting back that fence panel you took down to paint in summer 2007?”

  5. Proper grumpiness returns. You were getting a bit soft in your last few blogs.

    The ones I really hate are those with family photos on the front. "Look at me and my perfect brood" - yuck!

  6. Instead of Christmas cards, we send anonymous hate mail.

    Takes the pressure off.

  7. I don't send cards. Maybe someday I'll be imspired to...or not. Merry Christmas. You do have excellent taste in wine.

  8. Urber, just do what I did and send a card via my post and be done with it! If they don't read it, then you aren't to blame!
    But I like the card that I spent three hours doing, but at least all of my virtual friends received it! {Minus the Curly-Wurly!}

  9. mo ~ Thanks; reworded so it makes sense

    Tina ~ e-curly-wurly! There's a thought

    Mini ~ Deep

    Nat ~ Yeah! Tell it like it is!

    FLB ~ Sorry. I hit myself with a rubber mallet and I feel better now

    Mooooooog ~ Wish I'd thought of that

    PeachT ~ Ha! Made you visit

    Alice ~ Smart as ever. Top girl.I'll make an exception for your e-cards

  10. AAh that age old question, 'to send or not to send'?

    Well done Mrs G for getting you to sign your name. More than I can get Husband dearest to do -and here was me thinking I had him well trained in getting him to lick the envelopes (it used to be the stamps as well though as he reminds me, it's not his fault that they are now self sticking.)

  11. An invaluable guide.
    Don't send one to me as I haven't got a mantelpiece and they all stay in a pile behind the sofa.
    Can't imagine why it isn't a very big pile.

  12. I've only received one christmas card this year, from an elderly aunt...she never forgets me.
    My christmas card heap has slowly dwindled in the ten years I've been living in Italy...must be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'. They all are on my 'card blacklist'. No sense in wasting stamps. Yes, I am cynical. lol

  13. Very helpful. I'm having a crisis with the milkman right now. He did give me a free bottle of lemonade this summer and he did scrawl his name on the Christmas card he tucked in the milk box this week. So, do I tip "Anderson" at least enough to cover the free lemonade? Or was it only given to me because I had my bikini top on? Had I had a sweater on, would I have received it? It's not like he makes the milk or the I just give him a cookie?

    Ah. Dilemma. Any sage advice?

  14. E-cards are green. good for our planet. i was hoping both you and my husband would be in favor as i'd like to consider them for next year. since you are both opposed, i suppose we will continue with the photo card of our family and a pre-printed message of well-wishing. the only personal aspect we have maintained is addressing by hand as opposed to labels. Andy wanted to sign them until i reminded him that we are not famous. i loathe the update for the year. a reading assignment disguised as a greeting card sucks.

  15. I gave up sending cards years ago - it's expensive and really, who gives a shit about getting a card, really? No one. I mean it's nice to get one and all but that's as far as it goes right? It's costly and pointless. Bah humbug. Having said that I did send out my bloggy ecard but still...that was different. This is why ecards ARE ok - they're instantly disposable. You get the card, feel the sentiment and move on.

    Am I a bad person? I might be a bad person Uber.

  16. I like getting Christmas form letters in order to poke fun at them! As for the cards, I don't send that many and I'm not taking the time to do individual e-cards, either. It's too much work!


  17. Some top advice there UG. This time of year must make you grumpier than normal I guess?

    I don't do cards, yet always feel like a complete shit when I get one and know I won’t be giving one back in return.

    I just love the planet too much.

  18. Great advice thanks. I am terrible at sening cards. So I don't do them anymore.

  19. PW ~ Self sticking? When did they invent that?

    KAZ ~ I sent it already, soz. Just send it back

    Tammy ~ One? OK I'll send you another. I feel bad now

    FlourGirl ~ He's up to no good. Cancel the milk and buy it from Waitrose instead

    magda ~ Nice capital E. Don't think I didn't notice

    Vege ~ You're not just bad you're Baaaaad! But e-cards still suck like a lamprey on national suck day

    RefGeek ~ Actually good point about the letters. How about posting a few?

    Dan ~ Yup, it's the snow. Good to hear about your eco credentials there.

    Christie ~ You are a girl of the future. Everyone won't be sending 'em soon

  20. Good God. I hate the newsletter Christmas card. Jaysus. Spare me the pictures of your kids, too. I see them!!


    So I sent out 36 cards this year. I need to axe some people; thanks for the guidance.

  21. Cards are great. All that paper to recycle, makes me feel good when the green wheelie bin is full of quality stuff. Look at me I'm doing my bit for the planet, how can you recycle an e-card, I ask you, sooo last year.
    Post away I say.

  22. lol. we use our cards as ornaments and then as scrap paper for the boys to cut far as sending them...yeah, we will work on that one...

  23. There once was a blogger called Uber
    His posts were consistently super
    His missus cried out loud
    ‘eee ya make me so proud’-
    Keep sending the cards you party pooper

  24. JenJen ~Don't axe them! Just remove them from the list. That way, you'll spend much less time in prison

    SOM ~ Good point. What are those huge green bins for? Eh?

    Brian ~ Ah ha! Good plan. We'll try it

    SOM2 ~ Respect! That's some serious rhymin' going on there. Are you related to SadOldman? And when did you meet my wife? You got her eee down pat

  25. Thank you, I now feel like the minefield of Christmas Cards is, er, less of a minefield.

    On point number 2: Your Great Aunt Agathas are really the *only* key people to send cards to. Every one else is secondary.

    Mercenary? Sure. But you can assure the friends you fobbed off with an animated e-card of "Dancing Santa and his Elves" that it'll pay off in years to come and you'll be able to afford gold-encrusted cards for all!

    Obviously, that's a lie, but who's to know?

  26. i love ecards. i save money, time, writing and licking, and i don't tell people i donate to charity. that's just tacky!

  27. A great grumpy Christmas post - I really feel that you have captured the Christmas spirit of 21st Century Britain. Anyway Merry Christmas. Take this as your e-card 'cos it's the only card you are getting. Mind you how green is it? I have had to fire up my computer using dirty ungreen electricity to compose it and you have to do the same to read it and don't get me started on the server farms necessary to service the Internet...

    Ah well, only once a year (until Valentine's Day or Easter or birthdays or Diwali or Hannukah) .

    I give in.

  28. PS I gave all the money I saved not sending Christmas cards to a needy cause -the National Debt.

  29. Only me, back again.
    The stamps have been around a few years now. You just peel off the backing paper and stick them on, no need for any licking. A friend of ours was so happy, a seriel dieter she believed by not licking the stamps she'd save on a few calories.
    Anyway just wanted to thank you for becoming my 50th follower.

  30. Its the paper boy, I have my dilemma with, he sends the papers through the letterbox like a bombs just landed - maybe I should just buy a thicker carpet instead of spending money on Christmas cards.

  31. Good advice. I am awful at sending cards so I just make a donation to charity instead and have that as my facebook status for a week

    Kate xx

  32. Uber, Mrs Grumpy 'n me.... a fantasy, like having your very own curly-wurly factory. sigh.

  33. The only card I got was from my dentist. I'm not sending any out this year.

  34. Richard - Cold hard logic. No. 2 it is

    Sarah - Can't talk you out of them then?

    BP - I thought you were sending me a new scalextric

    PW - Drag me into the 20th century, please

    Rosie - Go for it. Nothing but shag pile

    Kate - Which charity? Do tell

    SOM - Damn. I'm shaking at the knees thinking about it

    Jen - Change your dentist. He's overcharging if he can afford cards

  35. Love it all. I think I'll send ONE card out this year. It will be to your dead Aunt Agatha. What's her address?
    Cheers, Uber Grumpy!

  36. We get cards from two types of sender.

    1) Family members that we speak to all the time by phone or eMail
    2) People who think about us once a year when they get out their Christmas card lists.

    I dare say the folk who get cards from us feel exactly the same.

    I don't need cards from people I talk to all the time. I don't want cards from people who think about me only once a year.

    There's an additional category to 1) and 2) above . . There's one person in it . . . but that's my business.

    And besides . . . :"Ow much is even a second class stamp these days! Bluddi 30p innit! 6 shillings to send a bluddi card. Time it was stopped, I say.

    Christmas! HUMBUG!

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