HAVE you noticed? Christmas greetings are getting smaller each year.
Not the slap-on-the-back and the ho-ho-ho personal greetings you might get in the pub on Christmas Day before going home for lunch. But greetings cards.
They have started arriving at our house and the trend I have noticed in recent years continues: they are getting smaller.
Neat little bijou cards, delicate but perfectly formed, are all the rage. They are light years away from the traditional large and glittery cards that boasted a coach and six, dashing through a Victorian snow-covered countryside towards a glass of mulled wine with Mr Pickwick in an inn glowing with promise in the wintry night.
You get the idea?
Or nativity scenes with a babe in a manger, blue clad Mary and diffident Joseph in a stable crowded with animals, shepherds and wise men. Today, health and society wouldn’t allow it.
But they must approve of these new cards which are understated, sophisticated, laid back, elegant and quite often not as expensive and do not cause as much litter when they are eventually discarded. They have simple designs and a simple message and just enough space to scrawl your name.
The only problem is they are often so diminutive they could get lost in the Christmas post. Which at least allows you to pretend that of course you sent a card to someone you forgot.
“They’re so small these days. Must have slipped inside a bigger one and gone to Scotland.”
These are no nonsense cards for a modern age and I must admit I like them. Particularly as they don’t take up much room.
Time used to be that families would string up their cards and hang them in dipping rows across the walls. Some still do, I know, as an affectionate festive reminder of absent friends.
“Who’s that from?”
“Uncle Billy. Thank goodness he’s not coming this year. Sprouts give him wind. Last Christmas we had to evacuate the front room.”
I think the correct protocol is for cards from relatives to stand alone on the mantelpiece as a mark of special favour. Especially if they feature, as some do, a family photograph.
This is a tradition we have long since dispensed with in our house. We collect all the cards we receive and place them in one bundle in a raffia basket so that any visitor may browse through at their leisure to judge the depth and quality of our acquaintances.
Which is another reason I am glad cards are getting smaller because they make a neater bundle.
No one, of course, should take offence at receiving a small card because, as I have been saying for years, size doesn’t matter. It’s the thought that counts.