Sending holiday greetings

Recycla is in the midst of working on her Christmas cards. She has almost 150 names on her list, so it’s a weeks-long process. She usually sits down in the evening with a colorful pen and works on 10-20 cards at a time. If she needs a little help with her mood, she listens to Christmas music. She’d drink spiked eggnog too in order to really get into the festive spirit, but has learned that boozing and Christmas cards do not mix.

The world’s first comercially produced Christmas card (1843). Photo via Wikipedia.

Are you working on your Christmas cards? More than 2 billion cards were sent during the holiday season in 2011 in the U.S. That’s a lot of paper and other resources being used for an ephemeral greeting. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your impact on Planet Earth.

The most environmentally friendly way to send holiday cards is to send e-greetings, which is what Captain Compost does. You can design your own or check out the dozens of websites that offer e-cards. The Green Queen also likes them and her favorite online source is Jacquie Lawson — she sends lucky friends e-cards throughout the year.

Recycla will admit that as much as she admires the idea of e-greetings, it’s just so exciting to find a mailbox full of colorful envelopes for weeks on end. (That said, when she gets an e-card from the Green Queen, she drops everything and clicks over immediately, because those things are fabulous.) She knows she needs to adjust her thinking, but she’s just not there yet.

For a number of years, she sent out those ubiquitous glossy photograph cards that everyone sends … and which, unfortunately, are not at all recyclable. This year, however, she printed her cards at home on paper with some recycled content, in the hope that recipients will recycle or compost her greeting cards after the holiday season.

If you make your own cards, use recycled content paper or cardstock — fewer trees were cut down to make that paper — and don’t use scrapbooking embellishments that cannot be recycled.

If you buy cards, look for ones that are made of recycled paper or have some recycled content in them. Again, stay away from foils, glitters, and other non-paper materials that make it harder to recycle the cards.

After the holidays, try to reuse or recycle as many cards as you can. Recycla turns her old ones into gift tags for the next year. If you’re not feeling crafty, consider donating your old cards to a charity that will turn them into new cards. In the U.S., the top collector of old cards is St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. Doing so ensures that millions of cards don’t end up in landfills.

One final thing: Recycla saw this fun news article about the elaborate Christmas cards one family has been sending out for more than 20 years and though you might enjoy reading it. Who knows, perhaps you’ll be inspired with your own cards this year!

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4 thoughts on “Sending holiday greetings

  1. I send a ton of e-greetings but I still also love to send hard cards. I’ve given one but I have a bunch more to do. I like to give the “real” cards in person but will only be able to do a few that way.

  2. I love to get mail, so I do send out cards–I’m up to “W.” And I love to get any kind of greeting, but I do recycle my cards as tags for next year. When I’m cleaning up after the holidays and putting the decorations away, it’s a fun distraction to sit there one evening with the decorative-edging scissors and cut them up! Great article, too, thanks for sharing that~

  3. We started sending postcards a few years ago – which saves much $$ on postage. They are laid out, 4 to a sheet, so that after we design them, it’s a matter of emailing the file to a local print shop and they take it from there. The mini-me took over the cards a few years ago, both design as well as all the addressing, so there’s been no personalization for a few years. Not that there’s much room on the postcard anyway.

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