05/10/2012 14:41 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Children's Christmas Cards


That was it. That was the entire sum of the "message" – if you could call it that – on one of the first Christmas cards my daughter ever received.

There was no "Dear Emma", at the start, no short note telling her how well George was and saying how they must catch up properly in the new year, thankfully no round robin was enclosed (a small but welcome mercy) and, albeit short, the writing was incredibly neat.

At just three years of age, George was either a master of calligraphy, or his mum had sat up the night before, madly scribbling 30 Christmas cards to all of George's nursery playmates.

"Bah humbug," my sister laughed, when I rang to ask her if it was me, or indeed was the world going mad.

Yet here we were, in the last few remaining weeks of the dreaded run-up to Christmas, up to our eyes in present-buying, baking ahead, fashioning school nativity play outfits out of sheets and ties, trying to find magic knickers to go under that too-tight LBD, and here was a mother who had made time to write Christmas cards to 30 children, on behalf of I'm sure a delightful boy – but who hadn't even played with my child.

As the days went by, Emma trotted happily out of school with a line of half-opened cards trailing out of her little red book bag. Some cards had been written by the children (it was a great way of seeing how my daughter's attempts at handwriting were faring in comparison to her peers), many more had been written by a parent. Some had bothered to address her name on the card, many more hadn't.

And it was there and then, standing at the front of nursery waiting for her to come out, that I vowed I would never, ever, ever, start writing Christmas cards for my children to send to their mates. If they wanted to do it, well they could do it themselves – I had enough to do.

Mum of two Diane Simpkins had to stand firm when her daughters came home from school one day early in December a couple of years ago to announce there was a "North Pole" posting box in the school hall, where children could post cards to each other. Once a day, the year six children would empty the box and come to all the classes, handing out post to lucky recipients.

"Of course, Tilly and Charlie both wanted to receive cards – otherwise they knew they'd feel like Billy-no-mates – but whilst Tilly was happy to spend hours in her bedroom laboriously decorating cards and personalising them with Christmas stickers, Charlie just wanted to receive them, he was happy to pass on the "giving" side, thinking perhaps I might help him."

Diane, like me, put her foot down – having more than 100 Christmas cards of her own to write, she was never going to take on Charlie's request as well.

Yes, it can be hard as parent to not wave a magic wand and make it all better for your child. "Of course I'll pop out and buy 30 more Christmas cards, and yes I'll sit with you tonight and help you write them all". But actually what's the point?

Call me miserable, call me Scrooge, but I really do think Christmas cards being posted at school between some youngsters who can barely write their name, just seems a pointless, silly waste of time and money on everybody's part. As if we don't have enough to do nagging them to do their homework.
Christmas cards for kids? No thanks.

What do you think?
Do your children send cards and, if so, how do you organise them?
Or do you leave them to it?