This year I won’t be buying any Christmas cards. Instead I will make a Christmas donation instead of posting the traditional Christmas card. This is largely for two reasons. The first, to help the planet, the second to donate that money directly to charity.
The Carbon Footprint of a Greetings Card
According to research published by Exeter University, the Carbon Footprint of a standard greetings card is 140g CO2e. (Source) The majority of the Carbon Footprint is comprised from four key elements: Paper Production, Printing, Postage and Decomposition.
This can be reduced by using cards made from recycled materials, hand delivering and ensuring the cards are recycled. So when picking your cards this year, please select carefully. If you live away from family a great tip to reduce your carbon footprint and cost is to send all your cards in one package to one family member. Then ask that family member to distribute your cards to other family members local to them, as and when they see them. Obviously, this only works when you have huddles of family and friends living in close proximity.
Donating the money directly to Charity
So why donate to charity and not keep the money? Many charities get significant income from selling Christmas Cards, Calendars and similar merchandise every year. Charity’s do an amazing job and struggle to raise funds, especially now where their services are on average more in demand than ever. So instead of buying cards from them where they receive a percentage, I will donate the full amount to two local charities. Meaning that they do not miss out on missed revenue, and they actually get to keep more of the money raised than if I have purchased their cards.
There are some great services such as Don’t Send Me A Card which allows you to send virtual greetings cards which donating to some amazing charities (check them out). For me though, this year I will be sending What’s App messages and phoning close family and friends for a good old fashioned chat instead.
I do have some spare Christmas cards left over from last year which I will be hand delivering to some elderly friends who live locally. However I will be planting some additional tree’s and asking that they recycle the cards after Christmas for me.