about Christmas card etiquette?

(57 Posts)
boschy Tue 11-Dec-12 11:44:28

We have only had 3 cards so far this year. None were charity (tho one was M&S, which has some blurb about recycling and the Forestry Commission).

One had a computer generated label - ok, I can live with that, just about. But inside was printed "Merry Christmas and lots of love from The Smith-Jones" (pseudonym). Our names were handwritten, but no other signature etc.

Now, in my book, cards MUST be charity, and should be brought from a proper charity, eg a charity shop or stall or via mail order, not those boxes you get in WHS which say "20p of this £4.99 will go to 200 different charities".

And you should also write a personal signature and preferably message. Round robins are a whole other subject...

AIBU?! grin

PuppyMonkey Tue 11-Dec-12 11:51:32

YABU but then I haven't sent any Christmas cards to anyone since 2006 grin

Yarg Tue 11-Dec-12 11:52:52

YABU. There are no rules.

But I don't do cards either. One or two lucky people get an email, but mostly I can't be arsed. grin

DowntonNappy Tue 11-Dec-12 11:54:08

IME charity cards are much more expensive than others. This year, i have about 40 to send out, so it'll be a box of 50 for £2 for me blush.

Purple2012 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:55:38

I buy next years cards after Christmas in the sales. Much cheaper. I also buy the wrapping paper and tags then too.

spoonsspoonsspoons Tue 11-Dec-12 11:58:26


Far better (for the charity) to buy cheaper cards and make a cash donation to the charity. Unless of course advertising your charitable donation is important to you.

Caitycat Tue 11-Dec-12 11:59:07

YABU you are free to buy your cards where you wish but it is a little rude to make a critical examination of every card people have made an effort to send you. I do send cards to people I really value in my life but don't do the every mum at toddler group and every friend of my in-laws I have ever met that some people do. I would be upset if I thought people were looking to criticise me for my good intentions.

ScatterGotStuckUpTheChimney Tue 11-Dec-12 12:00:32

YABabitU (well, not really, just different to me)

I prefer charity cards (the RNLI are usually my favourite) but I don't mind what other people send me. It's nice to have lots of different designs.

I'd much prefer a handwritten signature, I don't mind so much about messages, but if they want to add a message I'd prefer it to be handwritten than generic.

If they're elderly/have trouble writing for whatever reason, I'd prefer a card with just a signature (not written 'to me' iyswim) rather than a printed one with my name written in. I don't know why though confused

Scholes34 Tue 11-Dec-12 12:00:43

The etiquette you mention is obviously your own. You can't expect others to follow it. Accept their best wishes for Christmas. Cross them off your Christmas card list if you're really not happy with them, but don't expect them to conform.

I have two cousins who don't live in my town. Invariably, they leave my Christmas cards with my aunt and uncle, so I don't tend to get them until after Christmas. This year, as always, I've posted theirs to them. I've included my address on the back, just in case they don't have it to hand, and posted them in good time to allow them to get to the post office, buy a stamp and post mine to me. If they fail to do so this year, they're off my list.

redskyatnight Tue 11-Dec-12 12:01:11

I have never seen the point of sending Christmas cards when all you write is "To Sue, Dave and family from Jenny, Mike and family". I mean, what actually does this achieve? It doesn't tell the the other people you are thinking of them, just that you mechanically wrote their names down off a list. I only send a few cards but include personal messages in them.

ScatterGotStuckUpTheChimney Tue 11-Dec-12 12:01:30

That should really have been a confused shouldn't it?

MrsHoarder Tue 11-Dec-12 12:01:44


I can't afford charity cards. The ones I have sent have been made of fairly flimsy card too. Would you rather not get a card or get a cheap one (from out local independent shop, so supporting small business)

Convict224 Tue 11-Dec-12 12:03:10

I buy cards because I think they look nice, but am pleased if they are a charity card.
I do a big sponsored walk every year for the Hospice and raise a few hundred pounds. I have a monthly SO with the local Wildlife Trust and another Charity, so I think my charitable donations are covered. I didn't even know people would judge me by my Christmas Cards. Or is it just you?

laptopdancer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:03:49

I don't look to see where cards are from. I just look at the picture.
I find it a bit U that people check to see where the giver of the card bought it from.

DozyDuck Tue 11-Dec-12 12:03:54

Oops blush I moonpig most of my cards and get them sent direct (so much easier when you have no time and an autistic DS)

Up until this year when my gran said she didn't want any presents off us as we don't have much money, I told her we would still get her a card and she, very tactfully (which is not like her at allwink) said:

'oh yes please especially if your DS has scribbled in it I would love something he has done'

So I moonpigged the cards with DSs photo on and had to get them sent to mine first so DS could do his scribble and send them to family grin

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 11-Dec-12 12:07:54

YANBU about writing/printing; I think it's a bit off to print in your Christmas cards.

But YABU about them having to be charity cards – and 'proper' charity cards at that. Are your judgypants warm and cosy?

I used to hoik my judgey pants at some Christmas cards, but I now figure it's my choice to send which ones I send, just like everyone else chooses which ones they send.
I do flip the card over to see which charity people chose, as it's interesting and often significant to the sender, but I have stopped judging because it's lovely to be remembered.
I am a bit hmm at cards without my name written in though.

boschy Tue 11-Dec-12 12:09:45

gosh, I didnt think I was conducting a forensic examination, just commenting on the 3 we have received!

mrsHoarder supporting local business is good, but if you cant afford cards I would rather you didnt give me one because I dont know you well, and then I will have to give you one back, and so we are both spending money unnecessarily... ad infinitum.

spoons fair point about donating directly to the charity instead. But this year I have 3 different ones whose cards I have bought, would a £3 or £4 donation to each of them have made much difference? and then I would still have to have bought cards anyway...

toosoft Tue 11-Dec-12 12:10:44

In my book, YABU.

laptopdancer Tue 11-Dec-12 12:11:22

I'm not familiar with this charity card thing. Is it new?

Ephiny Tue 11-Dec-12 12:12:28

YABU. There are no rules.

As for 'only 3 cards' - I think increasingly people aren't bothering with cards these days. I haven't done for years. Also, it's only the 11th December!

boschy Tue 11-Dec-12 12:12:44

"I do flip the card over to see which charity people chose, as it's interesting and often significant to the sender, but I have stopped judging because it's lovely to be remembered."

well this, and I do choose my charity cards for personal significance.

Next year I might just give up blush

lustybusty Tue 11-Dec-12 12:15:21

Well that tells me... I don't send ANY Christmas cards at all. Instead, I send a fairly generic email to everyone I would have sent a card to, explaining that I have donated £30 to the NSPCC instead. Personally, I think that's the best way to donate to charity at Xmas, bur I do not judge ANYONE on the card they have chosen for me, just appreciate the fact they have thought of me. Each to their own....

MonthlyFestiveFrolics Tue 11-Dec-12 12:16:32

YABU, I send around 80 and I hand make them (never bought charity Christmas cards, ever). It would take all year to write a hand written message.
I think my home made ones say more than your hand written messages. That's my etiquette smile

MrsHoarder Tue 11-Dec-12 12:16:36

Well I wouldn't be sending you one, I send them to friends from university and family, both categories of people I try to communicate with regularly and see as often as is practical given budget and time constraints. Not send hundreds off with printed off labels (in fact all the cards I've sent so far have contained a handwritten letter).

Ephiny Tue 11-Dec-12 12:18:54

And actually I'm glad I don't bother if people are going to just use it as an opportunity to judge and criticise me for writing them wrong, or buying them from the wrong place or something hmm.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Tue 11-Dec-12 12:21:07

How silly... mind you Christmas cards in general are a fairly silly waste of time, money and paper IMO, except ones to the old and lonely...

lostconfusedwhatnext Tue 11-Dec-12 12:21:20

Can you believe a first class stamp is 60 PENCE? You can't send two cards for a quid! OK you can be a bit more organised and use 2nd class, but even still.... (mutter mutter)
I think that, more than anything, is what is making Christmas cards seem like an outdated luxury. I will be sending them to aged relatives and putting them with gifts to people like the pre-school teachers. But that's it.
Honestly, in this day and age, if I were getting all seasonal and sentimental and thinking "I wonder how old thingy is doing" I would facebook them (did that this morning in fact). It's a pity, cards are nicer. but 60 PENCE EACH?!!!

Jins Tue 11-Dec-12 12:22:28

Apart from people that live a long way away I don't send cards at all.

I don't send charity cards unless I like them. I buy cards based on the appearance and message. I've noticed an increase in charity cards this year in the ones we've received and it's added a whole new dimension to my display protocol as there is one charity that I won't even advertise. I am turning into Scrooge as each year passes

WholeLottaRosie Tue 11-Dec-12 12:24:13

I never realised there was so much analysis of Christmas cards until I joined MN.

Is it a charity card? If so is it a worthy charity? How have they addressed the envelope? Does it say "Mr and Mrs Surname" or "Mr and Mrs His-Initial Surname"?
What about if she hasn't changed her maiden name on marrying? Does it include the DC's by individual name or just to "family"? Does it have a personal message?
Does it include a round robin?

Fuck me I'm just grateful that someone thought about me and sent me a greeting.

Oh, and I don't send cards to people just because I received one from them. I make a list and stick to it. Same with presents.

Ephiny Tue 11-Dec-12 12:29:20

"I never realised there was so much analysis of Christmas cards until I joined MN."

To be fair, I never realised there was so much analysis (and judging) of all kinds of ordinary things, until I joined MN smile. I'd like to think it's not representative of the general population.

YABU to decide that other people ought to follow your decisions.

You make your choices. Other people make theirs. They may have reasons for their choices which you would agree with if you understood them. Or maybe not. But it is their choice where to buy Christmas cards and what to write/print/stick into them.

Idocrazythings Tue 11-Dec-12 13:13:33

YABU. I think you have too much free time if you are bothering over this. This years christmas cards have been my slackest yet, but I think people should appreciate the thought. I dont expect one in return, and I'd be surprised if we got many this year as we have moved and not really handed out our new address!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 11-Dec-12 13:13:33

Rosie, I think in this thread the OP is the one doing most of the analysing!

spidermanspiderman Tue 11-Dec-12 13:23:06

We do homemade cards. We do write names in them but no lengthy messages. I hate writing letters! Oh and we only send to close family - did suggest stopping but my dm said no as everyone loves our cards and keeps them! I think I've made a rod for my back.

Jins Tue 11-Dec-12 13:24:53

Rosie I was being tongue in cheek. However an RSPCA card won't make it to the display smile

AnnaRack Tue 11-Dec-12 13:52:52

Charity cards arent a good way of donating to charity because only a fraction of the cost of the cards actually goes to charity. Youre better off buying cheapo noncharity cards and giving the money youve saved to xharity. What charity cards are good for is improving the image of the sender. "Wow, X is such a caring, generous person, she bought this card from x charity." But actually the most generous givers are quite secretive about it, I imagine.

ScatterGotStuckUpTheChimney Tue 11-Dec-12 14:00:52

I think it depends really. I but the RNLI ones because I tend to like the designs and think they're good quality. If they weren't for the RNLI I'd probably still buy them because I like them. It doesn't make any difference how much I donate to charity though- I'd have to buy the cards anyway.

I bought some Oxfam ones this year because I liked the design, but probably won't next year because the inside of the cards is very slippery (I write in fountain pen).

WholeLottaRosie Tue 11-Dec-12 14:10:16

LadyCCM and Jins it's not just from this thread, last Christmas there was quite a lengthy discussion about people addressing envelopes incorrectly, another one about people not writing the name of every child individually, another complaining their child's name was spelt wrong...

If I get a card I barely glance at the envelope, I have a look at the card design, read the message, then put it on display. I don't think "The dirty bastards, how dare they send me a card painted by foot-and-mouth artists when they know I can't draw to save my life"

I'm just bemused by it all I guess smile

jinglebellyalltheway Tue 11-Dec-12 14:13:26

YABU, fuck all goes to charity from charity cards
we don't buy charity cards, okay we bought one pack but the majority weren't, we buy in our budget.... and always write a personal message... and give a HUGE percentage of our earnings to directly to charity so who are you to judge us for not buying charity christmas cards?

jingle If you buy charity cards from the right place, quite a lot goes to charity. The people who staff the pop up shops are often volunteers.
Debenhams win the scrooge award this year

YuleBritannia Tue 11-Dec-12 20:48:06

We have reached the stage that, with more than 200 people on our Christmas card list, I've written all our cards but will not post them until 18 December. Any card received that is postmarked after, say, 19 December will not receive one from me next year because theirs had been a 'return' rather than sent because they want to.

Some of our prospective recipients send us an e-mail Christmas greeting and I will accept that as a 'Christmas card'.

The more you communicate with people, even if only once a year, the more they remain your friends.

YuleBritannia Tue 11-Dec-12 20:53:03

We don't necessarily buy charity cards because they cost more than those from supermarkets which I buy after Christmas. We love to keep in touch with people who have been something in our lives.

When we choose cards, we choose those that have a proper Christmas meaning. Those that have a manger or stained glass windows or shepherds or angels or a star etc. Sooo hard to find these days.

MrsHoarder Tue 11-Dec-12 20:57:32

Yule you might want to move that posting date forward

KittyFane1 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:57:53

YABU. Charity cards are a con.
Even those where 100% goes to the charity named. It doesn't. They have manufacturing and marketing costs just like WHSmith do to produce the cards and only a tiny percentage goes to them in profit.
I say send any card you wish and if so inclined, give money direct to a good cause but even then a percentage gets sucked up by the charity's admin costs.

freddiefrog Tue 11-Dec-12 21:01:59


The only cards that get sent in this house are the ones the kids send to their school friends, and they are boxes of 30 little ones from Poundland

Overreactionoftheweek Tue 11-Dec-12 21:02:22

Well I managed to cost some of my friends £1.19 when I didn't put enough postage on a few of my cards this year, so I think I win the crap etiquette award grin

There was a little pompom on the card and so the bastards have obviously classed it as a 'large letter'

freddiefrog Tue 11-Dec-12 21:02:28

Oops, I meant YABU

JoInScotland Tue 11-Dec-12 21:17:36

Gee, we make our own cards and write a message inside each one. We do this because we enjoy it, and my son loves arts & crafts, and posting things.

We don't care how anyone else does their cards, buys their cards, signs their cards or anything! We're just happy they thought about us!

Merry Christmas!


cardibach Tue 11-Dec-12 21:39:46

YABU. If you want to help a charity, donate the money you wuld have spent on Christmas cards and postage to it and don;t send any cards. Let people know this is what you are doing so they can choose, if they wish, not to send a card to you.
Or are you sending cards to show how caring you are?

Beaverfeaver Tue 11-Dec-12 22:56:25

I oy sent cards this year because I never got round to sending thank you notes after our wedding earlier this year.

So it was only a handful and only sent to people I won't see or havnt seen since.

All get a personal message but other than that, I am not too bothered.

It's the only year I will ever bother with cards

silvercup Tue 11-Dec-12 23:15:07

YABU that "cards MUST be charity, bought from a proper charity".

DH and I have both given an awful lot of time over the years to charity by way of volunteering...but we're also pretty skint, so the cards we send are not of the expensive charity variety.

Thankfully the people on our christmas card list know what we do in terms of volunteering (that's how we met) so I very much doubt any of them would be as judgemental as you.

PuffPants Fri 14-Dec-12 17:46:17

I feel a bit sad when I get a card from an old friend and they have merely written our names and their names in it. What's the point? They may as well not bother. All it tells me is that they are still alive. I'm not expecting a letter but a couple of sentences would be nice. And nobody expects you to write a note in each one - just to the people you don't see all year and for whom a Christmas card is the only communication you have left.

BandersnatchCummerbund Fri 14-Dec-12 17:54:29

I do appreciate cards whatever they're like, and always enjoy getting them.

But that doesn't mean that I don't notice how beautiful the card is/whether it's from a charity/whether they've bothered to write some news in it. It's possible to be discerning without being ungrateful.

My own cards are always from Oxfam. I buy more expensive (i.e. more arty) ones for my closer friends, and I never ever send a card without writing at least a couple of lines in to tell them what I'm up to/give them a personal message etc.

BandersnatchCummerbund Fri 14-Dec-12 17:55:15

Oh, and I always try to select cards for religious/non-religious friends, too.

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