Seasons Greetings! Are you still sending PROPER Christmas cards across Croydon?!
6th December 2011
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Yes, it can be a slow, labourious task. And it can be a nightmare keeping up with real life addresses of friends and family with whom we normally only communicate electronically. And as for the cost of postage, when we are tightening belts surely it's not worth the expense any more?


I mean, really, what is the point of Christmas cards these days when we can hit a button on our computer and send an all singing, all dancing animated greeting to 50 inboxes all at once?


Well, for starters, the first form of Christmas card began in England when young boys practiced their writing skills by creating Christmas greetings for their parents. And for generations since, children have lovingly created, crafted and written cards for mum and dad from pre-school onwards. Those cotton wool and glitter adorned cards in the bottom of my decorations box are amongst my most treasured possessions.


From children sending greetings to the first 'real' Christmas card, which was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843, and depicted a family enjoying Christmas festivities and was inscribed with the message 'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You', there the tradition was born.


For over 150 years, we have used our annual 'Christmas Card List' to catch up with friends and family in far flung places, to be polite to those relatives we don't actually like that much, or to send fully fledged 'round robin' catch-ups, detailing chapter and verse of our family's triumphs and disasters of the past twelve months.


Cards that come in all shapes and sizes, depicting traditional Victorian scenes, fluffy bears and rabbits, robins, snowmen, Santa Claus... even saucy cards. Who hasn't bought a box of funnies for friends, traditional for family and cheap for work colleagues? You know you have! And if you have children, then there are the dozens and dozens of those little tiny ones that are pretty much compulsory from Infant school through to top Juniors.


Yes, it costs money to send them through the post, but really, those adverts they show are actually true in so many cases... you know the ones, where getting a card through the post means so much. And all the fancy decorations in the world won't look quite complete if there isn't a string of cards hanging either side of the door.


Do we measure our popularity by the number of cards we get? Probably yes, so do e-cards really count? What good are they, sitting in our email inbox?


So I for one am refusing to send a single 'e-card' this year. I'm going to spend several frustrating hours trying to find addresses, remember who's still married to who and which of my nieces and nephews produced children this year. I shall spend almost as much on my phone bill trying to find out these facts as I do on the exortionate cost of postage, and I shall probably only get cards back from half the people I send to. But I truly believe that this is one tradition that should not be wiped out by the internet.


And if you're panicking that you might have left it a bit late, visit thebestof Croydon's Member Offers page, where @ trsgraphics are offering last minute Christmas cards and can produce beautiful personalised cards for you.


Alternatively, why not pop into St Michaels and All Angels with St James Church on Poplar Walk, Croydon and buy Cards for Good Causes - a temporary Christmas card shop representing 32 charities, behind M&S?

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