Kick the greeting card habit
Save money and trees this holiday season with a few simple alternatives to cards.
Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 03:50
My Christmas card tradition has always been lackluster, at best. I probably haven't sent a timely card in 20 years, but my mother would want me to tell you that she raised me right and with proper card-giving etiquette. I just don't follow it.
When I first lived on my own, as a college student, I did OK with the family tradition. Mom gave me a mailing list of relatives and family friends and I added people from my own adult life. I shopped the post-Christmas clearance racks and stored them for the next season, getting an early start and filling them out a month or two before I planned to mail them, so I'd be finished on time and my handwriting would still be legible.
But somewhere along the way I fell off the boat. Perhaps it is my workaholic nature that prevents me from any organized thinking within my personal life, or the fact that I find card giving on par with rain forest destruction or the slaughter of endangered animals. It's a toss-up.
Currently, I still utilize the last batch of clearance cards I purchased ... probably a decade or so ago ... as the occasional (and I do mean occasional, as it is the same singular package of 24 cards I've moved through three changes of address, as I didn't want to slap the poor tree in the face that gave his life for me to be able to send a jocular message through the mail) but necessary greeting card. I've had them so long that even my husband knows where they are. If you are the lucky recipient of one of my rare efforts at card giving, you will more than likely receive one of these old beauties with Disney characters on the front, the message of a happy holiday marked out and replaced with whatever is appropriate — Merry Father's Day, for example — remember, it's the thought that counts...
So how do others avoid the wastefulness of card giving while still conveying the joy of the season?
— Social media gives us a great opportunity to express ourselves without using a drop of ink or even incurring the cost of stamps.
— Send e-cards. Many of these sites are free and can be quite personalized.
— Scan a card (or better yet, a work of art from one of your children) and email it to friends and relatives.
— Create your own masterpiece from recycled materials. A hand crafted card will be much less likely to find a home in the landfill than a less personal effort.
— Send cards made on seed paper. Quite a bit more expensive than your typical holiday card, these are made from post consumer waste and are plantable, embedded with either flower seeds or herbs. How fantastic is that?
— Don't use envelopes. Postcards are cheaper to mail AND save paper.
— If you can't kick the greeting card habit, buy cards made from recycled materials.
— Support St. Jude. They have been recycling greeting cards for 30 years by accepting the fronts of cards and reattaching them to new backs. Newly made cards sell in packs of 10/$10. This program not only helps keep cards out of landfills, but supports children living at the St. Jude's Ranch.