Christmas Cards

More than one in three (36%) of us Brits will be sending fewer Christmas cards this year than we did five years ago, new online research from Oxfam reveals today. This equates to 141 million fewer cards in 2010 than in 2005 (882 million, down from 1.02 billion in 2005).

Only 12% of Britons expect to send more Christmas cards this year than five years ago, with 43% sending about the same number. Moreover, while 91% of those aged 55 and over plan to send Christmas cards this year, just 72% of 18-24-year-olds intend to do so. Rather more women (42%) than men (30%) will be sending fewer cards this Christmas.

Saving money (22%), environmental concerns (22%) and postal costs (21%) are cited as the main reasons for sending fewer or no cards this season. But almost one in five (18%) think Christmas cards are no longer an important part of the festival, and 13% of those respondents will send online and email greetings instead.

The survey was conducted by YouGov among a representative online sample of 2,328 Britons aged 18 and over between 29 October and 1 November 2010.

Meanwhile, Oxfam itself reports that sales of its own Christmas cards in its 700 shops and online store are down 14% so far this year. The charity is dependent upon revenue from its cards to the tune of £1 million annually, with 42p in every £1 of sales going to its humanitarian work around the world.

For further detail, see Oxfam’s press release at:

Forty years ago, in 1970, according to Gallup, 91% of adults sent Christmas cards to friends and relatives and 9% not. The standard history of the Christmas card is by George Buday, originally published in 1954. Although there were forerunners, the first British card is credited to Henry Cole in 1843.

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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