I talking to a friend yesterday about Christmas cards, yes, I know far to early to be even considering this! What we were actually discussing is how we felt about receiving non-charity Christmas cards. My friend was expressing her surprise at how many non-charity Christmas cards she received last year, and how hard she was finding it anticipating the same thing happening again this year, but just not knowing how/if there was anything she could do about it.
About two years ago I stopped buying clothing or goods where I could acquire such items either locally, organically or where the goods were fair trade. This has had several significant impacts:
1. I no longer get the desire to go out on big spending sprees - on line shopping never has quite the same 'comfort' as physically going to the shops.
2. Because my choices are limited (especially with regards to clothing) I only try and find things when stuff either wears out or a new need is identified.
3. Though I have to pay more (generally) for items of clothing, I am quite sure I am actually saving money because of points 1 and 2!
4. My children and husband are totally behind the whole project, and are getting very adept at finding 'fair trade' labels!
5. Despite many disparaging comments from folks saying that the whole 'fair trade and organic' thing is a 'fad' - I am absolutely delighted to see Cadburys carry out their pledge to make their dairy milk chocolate fair trade this autumn. (We did write to them asking them to do it!).
6. I never have to put on my clothing and think 'was a child forced to pick the cotton for this instead of getting an education'.
Going back to the Christmas cards, I have made my own cards for the last 10 years, it is something I really enjoy doing, I have tried to encourage my children to only use charity cards when they want to send them. I do believe that we should not be too 'scared' of upsetting people by letting them know how we stand on ethical and environmental issues. However my experience has now shown that as with many things (especially my faith) the best way of attracting other folks to causes that you support is to set an example that is true and honest.