Greetings Cards

 

Christmas cards used to at least last a day, now they last minutes before I bin them, burn them, or send them off to be recycled. How about cutting-out the absurd and unnecessary faff and cost of my time by just not buying the things in the first place? How about not supporting the cull of the trees that contributed the paper? How about not contributing to the burning of fossil fuels in the process of culling the trees, processing the trees into the paper, and the various productions of ink and so on?

Who needs a greetings card anyway? They are ultimately nothing more than a posh letter, and posted letters were used when they were the most efficient means of communicating with someone far away. Nobody normal would write a letter to someone and then hand it to them, when they could have just enjoyed the privilege of communicating via the spoken word.

If you see the recipient in person, what is the point of giving them a card with 'Merry Christmas' on it, when you can just say it? Giving me something that achieves nothing more than saying that very same thing does not increase the meaning or value, it just pollutes the environment and my life with litter and inefficiency.

As for people we do not actually see (whether in person or via Skype or whatever), texting is the modern telegram, so why not send a text. Greetings cards are a commercial enterprise, nothing whatever to do with genuine feelings and appropriate communications between friends and family. Accepted, there might be a well-meaning printed message within, but, if my friends and family lack the creative imagination to just tell me how they feel, I certainly do not care for their substituting the words of a complete stranger. If you have no imagination, fear not, for I love you for that and all your other ills. There is, however, no greater way of showing me a complete lack of imagination, time and thought, than wasting energy and time selecting a card with a printed picture and a generic message.

If you have nothing to say, say nothing. I love you no more or no less for the eloquence of your words, or lack thereof. I could wish you a merry Christmas by saying it to you in person, by phoning you, by skyping you, Facebook messaging, a tweet, a text, or whatever. I could use a few words or pad it out into some lengthy poem, but however communicated, placing it within a greetings card is the least efficient and most irritating. Greetings cards are, to me, a symbol of much that is wrong with our capitalist, commercial hijacking of special occasions. The whole idea that a special occasion is best marked by the buying of things as gifts is anathema to me. That we even stoop to buying cards rather than just talking to people, or - at an absolute push - creating something ourselves on our own time and imagination - demonstrates to me how the mass market genuinely believes that money can be used to improve what can pass between two individuals with a real relationship and history.

I do not want people wasting my time by giving me a piece of thick paper with generic messages that were produced by an unknown person paid to do so. Am I supposed to see the images and read the printed words as if they were created just for me, as if they were precisely what you would have come up with yourself? Are the images and words better than what you could have come up with yourself? Is that why you wanted to give me this rather than just tell me or write me something more personal? I want the personal - I want what you think and feel, and not the generic, commercial affront to taste and decency. If you cannot come up with something that looks or reads as well, that is absolutely fine, because I want to think of you in that moment, and nothing substituted, even if you think it is better. It cannot be better - it is, by definition, less 'you'.

For me to celebrate a special occasion with others, I want people close to me, or communicating with me from afar, or just thinking of me. I want to enjoy myself in nature, sitting around a campfire, or relaxing at home, or taking it easy in a pub or some other nice setting. What makes a special occasion special to me is the experience I am having. That comes from the people I am with and the place where I am. It has absolutely nothing whatever to do with things given to me, and the act of giving greetings cards is, to me, the most wasteful, polluting, awful, almost un-me thing there can be. If anything has to be sent, my preference is for it to be sent electronically, because there is less pollution and it can be easily stored. So please, pretty please with a cherry on top, do not waste your money on greetings cards. If you feel a gesture is necessary, then please give the money you would have spent to a homeless person. That would be a special thing to do.

 

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