The type of Christmas card you send says a lot about your personality. Which of these do your family send out each year?
1. The Cheerful Rudolph
Our first type of card is perhaps the most common. This is your bold, colourful, ‘cool Yule’ design that usually sports Rudolph’s face, or Santa with a sack full of presents, or something called “Rockin’ Robin”, or any other non-religious, inoffensive, bright and cheerful motif. These fellows collectively take up the lion’s share of the mantelpiece.
Pros: Appeal to any age
Cons: A bit unimaginative
2. Have Yourself A Sensible Christmas
Second only to the Cheerful Rudolphs are the sober “Seasons Greetings” cards. They carry depictions of a traditional Christmas, such as a Victorian hearth with pendant stockings, or the Three Wise Men sojourning across the desert. These are the best of all Christmas cards, sent with sincerity and warmth, and they’re nearly always in aid of charity.
Pros: Inexpensive, help charities.
Cons: Not all that eye-catching, if we’re being brutally honest.
3. The Film Tie-In
You probably didn’t send or receive this kind of card until you had kids. These are the ones on which Elsa wishes you a Merry Winterval, or Darth Vader claims to have felt your presents. Have a Merry Minion Christmas and a Spongebob New Year.
Pros: Nobody can be uncheered with a festive Yoda.
Cons: Do they really celebrate Christmas on Dagobah?
4. The Fun-Sized Card
You know the ones I mean: the pint-sized wonders about the same dimensions as a beer mat. These are favoured by people who send out a lot of cards, and it’s a wonder they don’t get lost in the post.
Pros: You can arrange them in front of your other cards, like small kids in a class photo.
Cons: Easily thrown away by accident when discarding the envelopes.
5. The Complete Autobiography
“Greetings from the Brown family. It’s been a tough year for everyone, and I know we’re not alone in experiencing unprecedented challenges and upheavals. Despite these setbacks, little Suzy has excelled at school this term, not only learning to play the harpsichord from scratch, but also coming top of her after-school Latin class…” We all have friends and relatives who take the opportunity to write a lengthy missive in their Christmas cards, detailing everything that’s happened to them this year (even though you’ve heard it all on Facebook, with reprise on WhatsApp). That said, it is lovely to receive a hand-written letter in this day and age.
Pros: A reminder of the old spirit of Christmas, a time to reflect and take stock.
Cons: You’ll feel guilty for the rest of the year that you never replied.
6. The Home-Made Wonder
This is the card that every Kidadlr should be sending. Craft box open; fuzzy felt and glitter sourced; scissors primed.... And off you go. Designing your own card can be enormous fun, and something the whole family can do together.
Pros: A unique, personalised card brimming with creativity.
Cons: You’re going to fall foul of number 7 on our list if you’re not careful...
7. The Insufficient Postage Card
The rules of postage can be a bit complicated in the UK, with five variables to take into account (weight, length, breadth, width, postage class). To add to the puzzle, our stamps no longer have prices on them. Some people inevitably get it wrong and don’t pay the correct postage. Result: a greeting card that comes with its own queue-and-pay experience for the recipient. Merry Christmas!
Pros: You won’t make the same mistake twice, and trying to figure out Royal Mail’s multidimensional system is a good brain workout.
Cons: Pretty obvious.
8. The Suspicious e-Card
“Well, the email looks genuine, but should I really risk opening the link? Oh, yes, it really is from the Osgathorpes. And look, they’ve enclosed a troupe of dancing elves. How sweet.”
Pros: It’s good for the planet (especially if sending overseas), no trees were harmed, and no delivery vehicle is needed.
Cons: Are you really going to hang your iPad over the fireplace?
9. The Ones That Sing Hearty Christmas Songs When You Open Them
These were quite the trick when they first emerged in the 1990s. A paper hinge activates a tiny loudspeaker whenever the card is opened, for a rousing chorus of Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. Everyone is amazed. Or they were in the 1990s.
Pros: I don’t know. I guess you could pretend that you’re Ron Weasley receiving a Howler, or something.
Cons: If single-use plastics are bad, how much worse are single-use electrical components?
Whichever type of Christmas card you’re sending, Kidadl wishes you a very merry Christmas.
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.