Greeting card retailers and the mail rooms of Post Offices across the country were described as ‘eerily quiet’ in early December, as the usual rush to send Christmas cards failed to materialise and the entire population of the UK decided to ‘wait and see who sends us one first’ instead.
The stand-off – blamed on the the ongoing economic gloom and a growing suspicion among the public that cards arriving on December 28th weren’t actually just ‘lost in the busy Christmas post’ afterall — is entering its second week. Royal Mail management are now dealing with strike threats over reduced overtime, and questioning ‘why we even bothered putting time and effort into doing those nice Gruffalo Xmas stamps in the first place’.
The government finally stepped in to address the crisis by injecting millions of Christmas cards into the postal system in the hope of stimulating the exchange. Joan and David Anderson of Lewes were among the first to receive the government-backed card; Mrs Anderson’s query of ‘whether we’re sending one to David and Nick this year?’ was met by a hollow laugh from Mr Anderson, which echoed around the country.