card-set-med_1People are already starting to count down the days until Christmas. With the trees up in Department stores, the lights on in the town centres and present adverts taking over the television, it is enough to make you feel sorry for November; the month everyone wishes away.

Christmas has many traditions, whether that is religious, pagan or just commercial fun. One such tradition is the sending and receiving of Christmas cards. The little notes of ‘Season’s Greetings’ with snowy, picturesque Christmas scenes, jolly Father Christmas, or quirky baubles are an essential part of the festive season no matter how old you are.

At school, you would spend what seemed like an eternity writing out cards for all your classmates. For those of you that were organised, you probably made a list and ticked each person off. Whilst those of you less organised probably kept a handful of spare cards in your bag, just in case someone had slipped your mind.

Snowmen or Reindeer, large or small, felt or glitter (always choose glitter): the possibilities were endless. There were the yearly dilemmas of ‘do I put a kiss at the end or not’ and ‘I don’t really want to lick the envelopes but the tape sticks to everything.’

After all this effort, it was nice to give and receive the cards at school. Where everyone compared designs and had fun chasing each other with the glittery cards to rub onto the black blazers. It was a type of inclusion, even for the teachers, and no one kept count on who didn’t give cards for whatever reason.

Fast forward to now, I wonder if children at school still value Christmas cards and whether adults still exchange them. With all the technology around, yes it would be faster, easier and more convenient to send a generic email to friends, but that’s not personal, thoughtful or teaching compassion.

However, with so many trees being felled for these cards it is a good point that cards are not necessary, yet so many people do send them. If you do send cards, it may be worth actually thinking about more than just the picture on the front or the size of the cards.

As students we obviously don’t send cards to everyone in our classes now so we don’t need to buy one hundred cards for the cheapest price possible. A lot of charities have a range of Christmas cards that you can buy knowing your money is paying for more than deforestation.

The websites for the charities also have gifts and products that may be the perfect present idea you were hoping to stumble across, and once again your money would be helping save and better lives and futures.

From Macmillan Cancer Research to Amnesty International, there is a wide choice. The prices are not in the Poundland league, but nor are they extortionate. Plus I can guarantee people will notice you have bought them from a charity, giving you a chance to explain why and pass on this charitable advice.

Hopefully more friends and family will then choose to buy from charity next Christmas! For those of you that receive cards, after you’ve decided to take all your decorations and festive décor down, remember to recycle your cards along with your Christmas pudding boxes and TV guides.

I propose November is the sensible month. It makes you save, manage your money, buy gifts for others and think about the world; all whilst giving you a warm, fuzzy feeling about the future. Joy to the World.