The Blog

Christmas Cards - Is It Time to Stamp Them Out?

The trouble is that we all tend to think we're a little more well-liked than we are. Therefore, the receiving of a Hallmark offering is often the only validation we have of our self-perceived popularity.

Vladimir isn't on Barack's. He isn't on Petro's either.

Piers isn't on Jeremy's. What still?

Nigel isn't on David's. But then it's hard to imagine the Ukip leader being on anyone's.

Madonna isn't on Gwyneth's. Although that might have changed since yesterday as you know how capricious these celebrities are.

Louis isn't on Cheryl's.

Lewis isn't on Nico's.

Aaaaaarrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Fa-Thud!

"Heavens above! What was that?"

Don't worry, it's nothing to be overly concerned about. No need to call the emergency services. An ambulance won't be necessary. Nor will hospitalisation. Or counselling. Actually, psychiatric support might be required. After all, it can be pretty traumatic falling (or were they pushed?) off Simon Cowell's Christmas card list. For her sake, let's hope it wasn't Sinitta.

Realising that you've been ignored by those you wrongly assumed were closest to you is never easy, particularly at this time of the year.

Ending up hurt and humiliated, your ego bruised and battered, you inevitably find yourself wondering what you've done to upset the person in question. "Elton, was it something I said?"

The trouble is that we all tend to think we're a little more well-liked than we are. Therefore, the receiving of a Hallmark offering is often the only validation we have of our self-perceived popularity.

This goes all the way back to junior school and the dreaded Christmas post box. Ah yes, the cruel and devastating blow when morning after morning we weren't handed a single card while everyone else in the class seemed to be getting enough of the damn things to paper the Great Wall of China with.

This disappointment remains throughout childhood, extends into adulthood and continues for the rest of our lives, up to and including the day in late December when you're suddenly out of favour with those amazing friends you met on holiday for two days in 1993.

You try not to take it too personally. Hmmm, fat chance of that happening. Yet you can't help yourself. Take last year, for example. There's no denying that you sent them a good one, not an uninspiring Victorian snow scene out of the supermarket basics pack, but a hand-printed robin from the luxury John Lewis recycled range, no less

And what did you get in return? Nothing, that's what. Not even one of those pathetic tiny ones that are hardly bigger than a gift tag. Obviously, if you had got such a miserly card, you'd still have put it in pride of place next to the one from the Palace (the Tandoori Palace, presumably) since, well, that's the sort of person you are - full of bonhomie and goodwill to all.

This year, however, Machiavellian thoughts of revenge immediately run through your mind. How can you possibly get your own back, short of murder, torture, kidnap, extortion and sending them an eCard? Come on, you wouldn't go that far, would you? Not a digital greeting, surely? There are some limits no human being should stoop to and one of those is definitely an internet based flashing Santa who unexpectedly drops his trousers when he pops up in their inbox.

Of course, someone's apparent seasonal neglect of you could be down to a variety of reasons.

Have you ever considered that they might have died?

Alternatively, suppose they converted to a religion for which Christmas doesn't exist? It would be totally hypocritical of them celebrating such a Christian festival when they no longer believe in it.

Maybe they simply lost your address? Yeah and maybe reindeers can fly. You mean they can't?

Far more likely though is that they simply don't have the spare money to afford the postage.

100 cards delivered 1st class costs £62. While 2nd class will set them back £53.

It's a little known fact and an even less frequently advertised one that specially for the festive period, the Post Office also do 3rd and 4th class with the former costing a very reasonable 36 pence and the latter a considerably cheaper 28 pence.

There's only two small problems. Firstly, the last posting dates for 3rd and 4th class were July 10 and May 26 respectively, so, alas, you've already missed them. Secondly, and this is possibly more of an issue, they're both a complete fabrication. Neither of them exist. Sorry!

The tradition of giving and receiving cards is over 170 years old and I for one reckon that enough is enough.

This isn't because I'm absent from practically everyone's Christmas card list (although I am) but because they're a display of false sentiment which are routinely sent out of a sense of duty and misplaced loyalty.

We write them without thinking - little more than the word 'love' and an illegible scrawl that's barely identifiable as our signature.

Despite not knowing or particularly caring who on earth it's from, those tearing open the envelope exclaim: "Oh, how thoughtful" before chucking it on a pile along with the rest of those recently arrived through the front door.

What about this for a novel change? Tot up all the cash you'd ordinarily have spent on cards and stamps, then give it to charity. Doesn't matter which charity as long as it's a cause you feel passionate about and is close to your heart.

Now that really would be thoughtful.

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