The ethical dilemma of Christmas cards

I have an ethical dilemma about Christmas cards.


Earth Care – Christmas cards use paper, so many trees are cut down and they use inks which are polluting. They get looked at for a few weeks then thrown away or recycled. So generally not great for the resources of the Earth.

People care – People love to receive Christmas cards, it shows that the sender cares about them and is thinking of them. Christmas can be a lonely time for some people and a card may just brighten up their day.

Fair Shares – To receive cards and not reciprocate by sending one back feels unfair and mean-spirited. Charity organisations make a lot of money from selling Christmas cards, so maybe we can see buying charity cards as a type of charitable donation?

So what to do? An e-card is one option that seems to satisfy the three ethics, but somehow it doesn’t quite sit right with me. It doesn’t show a whole lot of effort and thought.  So how do we balance our ethics with our traditions and duties? I don’t have any hard and fast answers but sometimes asking the question is a good first step.

This year I found a compromise in four parts.

1. I helped my children make their own Christmas cards.

2. I brought some cards from my children’s school raising money for the PSA.

3.I opted out of sending cards other than to family members.

4. I used Facebook to send Christmas greetings to my friends.



6 thoughts on “The ethical dilemma of Christmas cards

  1. I have had this same dilemma. This year, me and the kids made our cards out of old scrap paper that I would have thrown away. I am also sending fewer cards out every year. I love having the kids help make them!

    • Yes the glitter frenzy is always fun! I found it a challenge finding the time and patience to write all the cards for my 4 year old, but she signed her own name this year! My older daughter wrote all her own cards for the first time this year, its amazing how quickly they grow up.

      • I’m working on the name with the 3 year old. She got the A so far. I think it’s great for the kids to have this experience.

  2. youngest moved out last year:-( I have fond memories of doing the same activities with my kids + your blog post brought back WONDERFUL memories:-)enjoy-they grow up fast + ALL that you are doing does leave with them + in their hearts-..I am helping my middle daughter put in an organic garden in her new home next summer:-) It passes on:-) Lovely post + great ideas how to make cards!

    • When I was a child I was dragged around endless gardens and forced to watch Gardeners world on the TV. I was less than keen at the time but I think it had a big impact and I am very grateful now to my parents and grandparents and their green-fingers!

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