With the recent price hike by Royal Mail which put the cost of a first class stamp up to 60p, many of us are seriously considering whether to continue with the tradition of sending Christmas cards to our friends and relatives. Once you factor in the cost of buying the cards, envelopes and stamps and the time involved in writing them, is it really worth the hassle and wouldn’t a quick email or text message be just as effective and festive? It would be a shame if we lost the tradition of cards completely, and there are several ways of cutting cost.

Examine the List

Most of us have the same list of people who we send Christmas cards to each and every year without fail. It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not we have seen these people or spoken to them in the past year, we simply send them a card without thinking about it. Take some time to go through your address or phone book and really think about who you want to keep on the list and who can be struck off. It seems brutal, but do you really want to be sending a card to a family you met on holiday 8 years ago and haven’t seen since?

Make Your Own

You don’t have to buy Christmas Cards, and if you have children you can rope them in to make your own. Cheap card supplies are readily available from craft stores and online, and get the kids painting, sticking and decorating with whatever you have in the craft boxes. Alternatively, get onto the computer and knock something up using graphic design software and clipart, then print it out using your Canon 510 ink printer. Take time over the design stage to ensure a professional looking card, which can then be personalised. Having pre-printed cards also saves lots of time at the writing stage, but make sure you have plenty of Canon 510 ink before starting the project.

Get Organised

Second class post is still pricey, but at 50p it’s still cheaper than sending things first class. Send your cards and gifts early so there is not a last minute rush to get cards to friends before Christmas. Royal Mail have also recently announced that some benefit claimants will be able to buy stamps at last year’s prices, and a leaflet detailing the scheme is being sent to every house in the country.

Scout Post

In some areas of the country, the Scout organisation set up their own postage service for Christmas cards in competition with Royal Mail. These are for local cards only, but for example Swindon scouts will deliver cards anywhere in the town for 20p. Similar schemes run in Somerset, Wirral, Edinburgh and Inverness and usually operate in the two weeks before Christmas. Keep an eye on your local newspaper for details. All proceeds go to the Scout organisation, and you have to drop the cards off at one of the designated collection points.