The Medium is the Message with Holiday Cards
Even with the advent of email, texting, smart phones and animated web greetings, the traditional paper holiday greeting card, wishing recipients a “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or simply “Happy Holidays,” still holds a place in our hearts as a way to send, receive, display and even file forever a treasured memento. RawPeople.com reports that 300,000 trees are consumed each year in the making of some 2 billion holiday cards, but appealing alternatives are coming to the rescue.
Purchasing cards made of recycled paper is the easiest way to save some lumber. Look for a local card retailer that is big on labels signifying use of 100 percent recycled content, post-consumer waste and vegetable inks. More unusual options include tree-free paper made from sugar cane and plantable cards with embedded seeds.
Nonprofit and conservation-oriented organizations can fill in the gaps. CardsThatGive.com(Tinyurl.com/3arz7ms) works with scores of them and offers online visitors a legend of icons that explains the environmental and charitable benefits of each one.
The Sierra Club (Tinyurl.com/3wven48), America’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, offers holiday designs printed in the United States with soy-based inks on recycled paper. The Greenpeace Natural Collection (Tinyurl.com/4xwabus) also offers eco-friendly cards.
To reduce a card’s carbon footprint to the bare minimum, with the only transport required that expended by the post office to deliver it, make it yourself. One option is to take old received cards, creatively paint over the original addressee’s name and reuse it. No envelope? Just write on the back of the clean front panel and cut it off to create a holiday postcard.
Sites such as CraftStylish.com (Tinyurl.com/dng4z5) offer attractive suggestions for making original greeting cards from recycled materials. All that’s needed are a few household items like paper bags, pencil, pen, ruler, tape, glue and crayons; professional art supplies are not required. Fun stamping dies can be fashioned from a potato. Even sewing skills can come into play to craft one-of-a-kind cards that will be warmly received and cherished for years to come.