Christmas Cards – Can they be Green?

Christmas cards

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Are Christmas cards just a chore for you that you’d be happy to dispense with? Or do you love the ritual of catching up with old friends once a year and sharing the latest annual family photo?

Christmas cards are still a firmly rooted tradition for many but are they ever really green?

Several friends have sent out their Christmas cards by e-mail, which is probably the greenest option – no paper used, no postage, no carbon footprint for getting it delivered to your door. But for some this is a cop-out – how can that e-mail pic of the kids in their Santa hats, however cute, ever make it to the display of Christmas cards on the mantelpiece or hanging from the ribbon on the wall? Only if the recipient prints it out themselves… and then it is no longer carbon neutral! While I actually like the immediacy of e-mailing cards – nothing better for the last minute Christmas panic catch-up – some people just don’t feel that they are proper.

Other green options include making your own Christmas cards from recycled paper, packaging, found items, such as leaves and pressed flowers and so on. Hand-delivering can save on postage and help with the green profile, unless you are driving several miles just to deliver it, of course.

What about if the hand-made look just isn’t you, but you still want something unique and individual? It’s well worth looking out for specialist printers with a green ethos, if you like a more formal or sleeker design of card. You can either design your own card, or provide some images and have it designed for you. Ask for recycled paper, check that they use earth-friendly, vegetable based inks and have your own green Christmas cards printed especially for you.

If you are trying to keep costs down, think laterally – why not design yourself a business card size Christmas greeting, so that you can take advantage of special rates in litho printing. Or a postcard size – this will save on postage and envelopes too.

One tip to keep postage costs down – design your cards to fit the standard envelope size. International postage costs far less in this size than it does when you move one size up.

So if you are weighing up tradition versus green living when it comes to Christmas cards you can find an acceptable balance… except now with a countdown of just over a week till Christmas it may be too late to send out the traditional printed and posted Christmas card, this year anyway… e-mail cards here I come!