Alan Dee: Who do I thank for the lack of Christmas cards?

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I DON’T know whether to thank the recession, the march of technology, or the general decline in Christmas traditions which has seen the office party and the over-illuminated house both dwindle and deflate this year, but I’m happy to report that my Christmas card collection has substantially slumped.

Now I’m entirely aware that this may be due to the fact that I have something of a reputation as a sour-faced Scrooge who has never been a fan of the so-called festive season and people have just decided to cut their losses and forget about wishing me the compliments of the season, but I’ve been like this for donkey’s years and it’s never stopped them sticking and stamping in the post.

And to be fair, the bulk of the Christmas correspondence has always been done by the long-suffering Mrs Dee.

My main contribution – apart from scoffing at the circular letters full of boasts and balderdash that still arrive from people we haven’t seen for years and have no intention of seeing for years to come – has been, when instructed, to hoist the string on which our cards are displayed, and then arrange the cards upon it. It’s a height thing, you see – she wouldn’t even trust me to do that if she could reach herself.

Not too many years ago, I was stretching up every other day to created another little washing line to display greetings great and small.

One memorable year when the boys were at school and the craze was to send a card to just about every other pupil in the place, our house was festooned with the things. I counted them up when Twelfth Night came and we had more than 170, as I recall.

But this year we haven’t even completed two walls of the front room and it’s fair to say that our jolly postman has been busier bringing bits and pieces our eldest has been buying online – no doing battle with the last minute Christmas crowds for him, smart lad – than delivering pictures of robins, carol singers and sprouts in Santa hats for us to add to our decidedly downbeat decorations.

At work, where once the postbag at this time of year was filled with greetings from people you’d never even met, let along just lost touch with, the corporate Christmas card has just about vanished completely, and good riddance.

There is, of course, a new menace to tackle – the email Christmas card or templated seasonal text which you may have noticed cluttering up your inboxes over the last couple of weeks. However, there’s no guilt as you hit the delete key with these unwanted messages, and they don’t sit there for a fortnight reminding you of relationships which have withered on the vine, so they’re only a minor inconvenience in the great scheme of things.

But the steep decline in the number of traditional cards has left me feeling jollier as we approach the big day than I have done for many a year. Merry Christmas, one and all!