Terry Freedman on ecards

10/21/2011 1:18:16 PM

It's good to see that more and more people are turning to e-cards now instead of the traditional ones. And surely this is an area in which governments and businesses should set an example?

It's true that traditional cards look nice when they're displayed as part of the Christmas decorations, but it's much more eco-friendly to send e-cards. That's what I've been doing for some years now, and it looks like several more companies are doing so this year. At least, that's my perception based on the number of e-cards I've received from business contacts -- although it is not just strong perception, as "Report on number of Christmas cards sent" from the USA suggests.

In fact, I've noticed two developments this year:

Firstly, as I said, I seem to have received more e-cards. Perhaps this is for financial reasons rather than "green" ones, but it does suggest that, for whatever reason, e-cards have become more acceptable.

Secondly, when looking for e-cards that I would feel happy sending to clients and other business contacts, I was delighted to see that 123 Greetings has a business section. Perhaps they always have, but I don't recall seeing that elsewhere when I was looking last year or this year. That means that one no longer has to try and select the least noisy, drawn-out, cheesy or otherwise unsuitable card.

For example, this year I sent this card to my contacts.There is a musical accompaniment to it, but (a) it's more choral than "cartoony" and (b) you can easily turn it off.

I have quite a large Christmas list, so using the e-route helped save a small tree I think! It also saved money, an important consideration in these times. For that reason I was rather dismayed by a Bermuda report in the The Royal Gazette to the effect that the government of Bermuda spent $20,000 on sending Christmas cards. Why? Oh, and by the way: that government is us, the Brits!

Also, a recent Report from New York" from New York highlights the enormous waste of resources associated with sending cards and wrapping Christmas gifts.

So, here are some questions which may be useful to discuss with your students -- not necessarily in relation to Christmas, but other festivals as well:

Is it curmudgeonly and "scroogish" to be considering issues like waste and finance on these sorts of occasions?

-Do e-cards have the same impact as physical cards?
-Although it can be much more efficient to send e-cards (less wasted cards due to making a mistake when writing the message, that sort of thing), should we eschew such considerations at times like this?
-Should governments be spending money sending physical cards, especially during a recession?
-Ditto businesses?

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