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    UK striving to keep Christmas card tradition alive

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    A third of people intend to send fewer cards this year because of the cost, states a recent report, highlighting how Britons are still somewhat “prolific card senders” but are opting for handmade cards and sending fewer ones due to higher prices of stamp.

    A recent poll reported by The Guardian found a third of people intend to send fewer cards this year because of the cost. The price of a second-class stamp has risen by nearly 30 per cent in five years to 75p. Over the same period a first-class stamp is up nearly 90 per cent to £1.25.

    With budgets under strain from the cost of living crisis, retailers say consumers are being creative, either buying singles for close relatives and friends or getting out the craft scissors and glue stick to make them themselves.

    Britons are still prolific card senders. With large numbers Christmas cards sold, the total exchanged is hard to estimate. However, the Greeting Card Association (GCA) puts the figure at one billion a year.

    Amanda Fergusson, the GCA’s chief executive, said sending a card was a “very British thing”, with the overall single-card market, which includes birthday cards, at £1.5bn last year. While some people might be sending fewer cards at Christmas, she said its research found that 18- 34-year-olds were sending more than a generation ago.

    “Cards are part of the fabric of our life in the UK.”

    “Postage costs have an impact,” Fergusson added, but being able to send a card anywhere in the UK for 75p “still represents good value”.

    Even if the sacks of Christmas cards being delivered by the Royal Mail are smaller these days, the annual trade is still a money-spinner for Scout Post, its mini rival. A Scouts spokesperson said the unofficial mail service was thriving, with 50 operating around the country this year.

    Card Aid no longer opens the pop-up shops in church halls and empty stores that once sold huge quantities of Christmas cards for a wide range of charities at this time of year. These days supporters are encouraged to buy from its website.

    “We had wonderful years generating hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity,” said Hilary Blume, director of the Charities Advisory Trust, which is behind the Card Aid initiative. “We stopped because people weren’t buying cards.”

    In its heyday, Card Aid used to get its stock ready to sell at October half-term “so people could get organised” with the average purchase being about 30 cards.

    “It was a huge thing… but life isn’t like that now,” continued Blume. “If the [postal] service is so terrible and it is £1.25 a knock, plus the cost of the card, why would you do it? Are you going to go out and spend £40 or £50 on Christmas cards?”

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