Tis the season to be jolly... but the emotion that starts hitting me with a vengeance at this time of year is guilt.
Not guilt at spending too much money or the guilty pleasure of stuffing my face with lots of highly calorific food, but the guilt invoked by the square and rectangular envelopes that start falling through my letterbox or appearing on my desk.
Christmas Card Guilt is a real condition and I have a severe form of it – and it’s only going to be worse over the coming days.
There’s something sentimental and special about receiving a traditional old fashioned handwritten Christmas cards – especially those which include a thoughtful message from friends far and wide.
There was a time when I would painstakingly write dozens of Christmas cards each with their own personal message and a night would be set aside for the very task of writing Christmas cards.
But over the years as life has got busier, the number of cards I write each year has dwindled and those that make it into a postbox have dramatically declined.
And so begins the guilt when yet another card arrives from someone who you haven’t sent a card to.
You experience the mixed emotions of pleasure at hearing from them mingled with the remorse of being a bad friend.
Only today I received a card from a former colleague who I worked with years ago who religiously sends me a Christmas card every year but I can never send one back as I don’t know his address.
Everyone loves being on the receiving end of Christmas cards and the fancy, glitter encrusted and humorous ones are proudly displayed on mantlepieces.
While I’m guilty of being part of the problem, I feel a sentimental sadness for the dying art of sending Christmas cards.
I’m not alone in lamenting their demise – a study by Oxfam has revealed nine in 10 adults still believe a Christmas card is the most festive fitting greeting.
And in these days of social media making it too easy for people to express seasonal wishes, an overwhelming 83 per cent believe more thought and feeling goes into the written word than a quick-fire text message or social media post.
But there are those who argue Christmas cards are a waste of time and lack genuine sentiment as they are bought in multipacks and have names and messages hastily scrawled in them, while others say they’re bad for the environment as thousands of cards are thrown away.
There also seems to be a rise in those who declare they won’t be sending any Christmas cards but will make a donation to their chosen charity instead.
While this is very noble, I can’t help feeling it’s a bit of a cop out.
They could always send some cards as well as making a donation, or buy charity cards so they can spread awareness at the same time as Christmas cheer.
However, the ones I dislike the most are e-cards. Just what is the point? Are we meant to print them out to put on our mantlepiece?
Real Christmas cards with a heartfelt handwritten message evoke a warm and fuzzy feeling and no digital message or Father Christmas or snowman emoji can ever replace that.