Monday, January 06, 2020

The Big Annual Christmas Card Audit 2019

Well, here it is. I've been teasing the ACCA on Twitter and Facebook, and judging by the comments I get from people on social media, in person, and in some of the Christmas cards that you send, this is the only thing on my blog that you lot are interested in.

The auditing process...

After several years of declining numbers our number of Christmas cards received stabilised this year, which was pleasing. The trends were interesting again this year. Still, no dogs in Santa hats, although there were a couple of other behatted animals, and a dog with a stocking. Christmas trees were very popular this year, as were cards featuring 'wintery scenes', possibly because we don't get snow any more in our warming world.

A word about the audit process, because I know some audit nerds read this every year. I tend to count cards by the most prominent 'theme' or most important aspect of the card. So, for example, Santa in his sleigh being pulled by reindeer would count as a 'Santa' card . If it was just the reindeer with the sleigh waiting patiently on a rooftop next to a chimney, it would be counted as a reindeer card. Some cards are unclassifiable, even with all the new niche categories I keep adding.

In the religious category, it works like this: if the card features Mary, Joseph and Jesus it counts as a 'Nativity' card, even if the wise men and shepherds are also depicted. If it's just baby Jesus, then it's also a Nativity card. So the Wise Men category is just the wise men; the shepherds the same. Angels appearing to shepherds would be a shepherds card. Angels on their own would be in the angels category. It's arbitrary, but at least I've been consistently arbitrary since I started.

On a final note, a few people have started picking cards that they think will break my categorisation. No one has succeeded in doing that yet. It does amuse me that people try.

Anyway, on to the audit. New categories are asterisked. (I probably should stop adding new categories.)

Total number of cards: 83 (last year: 82)

Hand-made / home-produced cards: 5 (down from 7)
Cards designed by kids: 4
Cards with glitter: 13 (down from 17)

Charity cards
Cards sold in aid of charity (or fundraising):51
Total number of charities represented: 42 (up from 36)
Most popular charity represented: British Heart Foundation were the winners again this year, with 11.

New for 2019: charity card cause breakdown
Cards raising money for cancer charities: 26
Cards raising money for other health issues: 31
Animal charities: 2
Children's charities: 13
Overseas development charities: 11
[Cathy noticed that, possibly for the first time ever, we received zero Oxfam cards]

Religious themes
Religious-themed cards: 24 (down from 30)
Cards featuring the Nativity: 14 (down 1 from 2018)
Christmas story 'characters':
Three kings: 6 (same for the third year running)
The shepherds: 2 (up 1)
The star of Bethlehem: 0
Angels: 2
Choirboys: 0
'Cartoony' religious: 1

Other themes
Santa: 3 (half as many as 2018)
*Christmas Elf: 1 (nice that the workers who keep the whole shebang running get a look in)
Penguins: 2
Bears: 1 (can you believe that one year we had 12 cards featuring bears; that's a trend that has receded as fast as the polar ice shelf where they all live)
Deer/reindeer: 3
Christmas decorations: 5 (up from 2)
Christmas trees: 12 (double the number from 2017)
Christmas food: 2 (both sprouts!)
Robins: 0
Donkeys: 0
Sheep: 0
Other animals with or without Santa hats: 6
Winter scene/scenery: 12 (up from 3 in 2018!)
Snowmen: 6
*Snow / snowflakes: 2 (I can't really believe this has never been a theme before)
Licensed characters: 1 (The Snowman of Walking in the Air fame)
Llamas: 0 (This was a new category last year, but maybe the llama fad is over)
Hares and Moons: 1 (Another new category last year, and presumably not over)
Holly and wreaths: 0

Messages on the front of the card 
Cards that mention 'Christmas' on the front: 26. Just 1 of them was religious themed. This just confirms my repeated observation that religious themed cards don't use the word Christmas. Also, again we just had the 1 card saying "Nadolig Llawen".
"Seasons Greetings": 3
Mentions "Jesus": 0 (again)
Bible verse: 2 (same as in 2018)
*Lines or titles of Christmas carols: 7 (same as 2018)
*Lines or titles of Christmas songs: 1 (and that's pushing it because the words were "Fa la la la la")

Catch up on previous years
2015 plus 10 favourite cardssenders analysis and Bible verse breakdown
2016 plus favourite cards
2017 plus a dozen favourites and Christmas carol audit
2018 plus 15 favourites

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