The New Normal

I always find it hard to throw away Christmas and birthday cards

It’s a few weeks since Christmas, but before Christine Manby throws away the cards, she needs to decide which ones mean the most to her

Sunday 23 January 2022 12:22

The decorations have been down for weeks but a pile of Christmas cards still sits on the worktop in the kitchen, awaiting their fate. How should I deal with them? Straight into the recycling or into a box in an already overcrowded cupboard, to be transformed into artfully handmade-looking gift tags when December next rolls around?

Every year I promise myself I’ll try that. Every year I chuck a box of ready-made tags into my trolley during the last pre-Christmas dash around the supermarket. In my imagination, I am Kirstie Allsopp without the controversial views. In reality, I will never have the time to dye napkins pale pink with avocado skins. Likewise, I will never buy a pair of crimping scissors and make those Christmas tags. So, it’s into the recycling bag the cards must go. But not all of them. First I have to make few decisions.

It's easy to dispose of the corporate cards, which are thankfully increasingly rare. Like their email equivalents, which always earn a quick delete, I can get rid of them without the slightest flicker of sentimentality. There’s something about them that is utterly at odds with the kind thoughts described in the printed messages inside. The scribbled signatures beneath those “best wishes for the season” seem hurried and resentful. “Really? It’s that time of year again? I have to sign how many cards?” I can understand the signees’ frustration and I certainly don’t want to be responsible for the RSI of a sales-person or PR I don’t even remember having met. I doubt they remember me either.

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