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Christmas cards suffering cutbacks

Britons will send 141 million fewer Christmas cards this year than five years ago in an effort to save money and the environment, according to a survey.

More than a third of people (36%) have cut their Christmas card list, suggesting 882 million cards will be sent this year compared with 1.02 billion in 2005, the poll for Oxfam found.

It revealed 91% of those aged 55 and over plan to send cards this year compared with 72% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Saving money and environmental concerns were both cited as reasons for cutting back on cards by 22% of respondents, with postage cost increases mentioned by 21%.

Almost one in five people (18%) think cards are no longer an important part of Christmas, with 13% of those respondents planning to send online and email greetings instead, the poll found.

Just 12% of Britons will send more cards this year than five years ago, while 43% will send about the same number.

Oxfam said its own card sales were down by 14% so far this year.

The charity's director of trading, David McCullough, said: "Given their social importance, Christmas cards are clearly a tradition it's important to keep alive.

"This is even more the case when you realise that the £1 million of Christmas card sales Oxfam receives every year is enough to feed more than 140,000 families. Sending a card this year could help you not only to stay in touch with your loved ones, but could make a difference to the lives of poor people around the world at the same time."

YouGov surveyed 2,328 adults online between October 29 and November 1.

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