Here we are again - it's time for the Annual Christmas Card Audit (ACCA), which has become a feature on this blog, even to the point where people have got in touch to send me cards because they have read the blog. (Well, one person has done that - hi Jon from Melbourne!)
The postal strikes and knock on effect on deliveries meant some cards didn't arrive until well after Christmas so we left them up on display a bit longer than normal this year. That prompted my friend Stewart to contact me a few days ago asking where the audit was. I reassured him that it was on the way.
Last year I included the cards designed by kids in the audit post. Here's the one Stewart sent us, designed by his daughter Delilah.
Delilah's card got counted in the reindeer category.
Anyway, on with the audit. As ever, I've included the previous year's figures for comparison.
Total number of cards: 63 - This is actually a huge drop from last year's total of 91. Whether this is because of the rising cost of living, the spiralling cost of postage, or disruption caused by strike action is hard to day - probably it's a combination of all 3. But anyway, it's quality, not quantity that matters!
Hand-made / home-produced cards: 5 (8 in 2021)
Cards designed by kids: 2 (1 less than last year, when we had 3)
Cards with glitter: 3 (A quarter of last year's total of 12. It would be good news for the environment if glitter disappeared altogether.)
Cards sold in aid of charity (or fundraising): 38 (Down from 53 - which feels a proportionate drop given the overall drop in cards received.)
Total number of charities represented: 37 (40 in 2021)
Most popular charity represented: Mind, with 10 cards. This is the first time Mind has been the most popular charity, although most of these were on multi-charity cards. There was one card that was just sold in aid of Mind. The second most popular charity was the Alzheimer's Society with 9.
Charity card cause breakdown
Cards raising money for cancer charities: 14 (down from 24)
Cards raising money for other health issues: 16 (down from 36)
Animal charities: 1 - the RSPB, (Was zero in 2021)
Children's charities: 6 (8 in 2021)
Overseas development charities: 8 (down from 11)
There's always a bit of a challenge with some themes - the card above, by Zachie, featured spiders and cacti wearing Santa hats. Obviously it is absolutely brilliant and would raise everyone's joy levels as much as it did mine, but for avoidance of doubt, it got counted under 'other animals' rather than 'Christmas foliage'.
I always start with the religious themed cards as technically, Christmas is a religious holiday. However, the number of religious themed cards does seem to be about the same proportion every year - more than a fifth, less than a quarter.
Religious-themed cards: 14 ( down from 19).
Cards featuring the Nativity: 7 (down from 12)
Some of the following characters from the Christmas story may have featured on the Nativity cards, but they only get counted if they appear solo on the cards.
Three kings: 0 (This might be the first time ever that the kings / wise men / magi didn't appear on a card. They were on 2 cards last year.)
The shepherds: 0 (Again! That's three no show years in a row.)
Angels: 1 (The same number as 2021.)
'Cartoony' religious: 0 (This fluctuates year on year between a few and zero; 2022 was a zero year.)
Santa: 3 (down from 6)
Christmas Elf: 1 (Relisted this year after being dropped as a category.)
Penguins: 2 (Half of last year's total.)
Bears: 2 (After a bear-free Christmas last year, they have returned!)
Reindeer: 3 (down from 6)
Christmas trees: 5 (down from 6)
Christmas food: 1 (down from 3)
Christmas decorations: 2 (down from 4)
Robins: 4 (A rare category that increased! Up from 3 last year)
Dogs with or without Santa hats: - I'm delighted that after a zero showing last year, we had 2 dogs cards and 1 had dogs in Santa hats!
Other animals with or without Santa hats: 8 (Up from 6. It was a bit of a menagerie, with a koala and a narwhal featuring on cards.)
Winter scene/scenery: 3 (down from 8)
Snow & snowflakes: 0
Snowpeople: 2 (After a good showing of 8 last year, this is quite a drop.)
Licensed characters: 3 (Down from 6 in 2021.)
Hares & Moons: 1 (Another stable category with 1 last year as well.)
Christmas foliage (formerly listed as "holly and wreaths"): 3 (Up from 1 in 2021)
CARD FRONT MESSAGES
Word 'Christmas' on the front: 27, of which 4 were religious. This is an increase from 25 overall and 2 religious cards in 2021.
"Seasons Greetings": 3 (down from 4)
Mentions "Jesus": 0 (For the second year in a row.)
"Peace": 3 (Up from zero last year - perhaps it reflects a year with a fairly big war kicking off on the eastern edge of Europe.)
Bible verse on front: 1 (This is one of the most consistent categories. We always seem to get 1 card with a Bible verse on the front.)
Lines or titles of Christmas carols: 2 (down from 4)
Lines or titles of Christmas songs: 1 (down from 3) - I sort of cheated here because one of the cards had the words "A Child is Born" on, which is the title of a Christmas song. Otherwise it would have been zero.
Message in Welsh: 4 (up from 2)
Puns: 1, which is a huge drop from 8 last year. Is the era of puns over?
In conclusion - we got a lot fewer cards this year so the overall trend for all the categories is downwards. There were a couple of categories that bucked the trend. It was nice to see bears reappear and, of course, the dogs in Santa hats, which just epitomises Christmas to me.
In fact, any animals in Santa hats epitomises Christmas to me. In addition to Zachie's spider (above), our friend Helena drew chickens in Santa hats for her Christmas card - which I include here to finish off the eleventh ACCA in style!