Monday 18 December 2006


When I was a kid, I had an Archie Andrews Annual that contained instructions for a home-made card game featuring used Christmas cards --- NO, don't laugh! This was in the years of post-war austerity!

Anyway, the idea was this: you cut the fronts off lots of cards, turn them "face down", shuffle and deal them out to the players. Thereafter, the game proceeds as in 'Snap', with players laying their cards "face up" on top of one another. If you happen lay a card depicting a mail coach ploughing its way along a snowy road on top of a similar scene, you have instantly to shout "COACH!" and the first person to do so wins all the cards on the table...

Looking at the cards received this year, you'd have a job playing "COACH!" today... There's not a single one in sight! So, where did they all go? Is it down to the Congestion Zone charge? Or the efficiency of the British public transport system? Or, maybe, the popularity of the Chelsea tractor? Whatever the reason, there's not been one in sight of our mantlepiece for years!

I suppose you might still be able to play the game (just) as "ROBIN!", "CANDLE!" or (very occasionally) "MANGER!" but, anyway, it's probably a bit of a non-starter with all the DVDs needing to be watched and computer games that require playing...

Talking of cards, here's my nomination for 'Best Non-Christmas Card of 2006'. It comes from one of my publishers, HarperCollins, and whilst featuring a Christmas-tree-shape is actually less concerned with passing on the compliments of the season as with telling us how extremely green-conscious they are when it comes to the trees that get felled in order to print their books - and, yes, their Christmas cards...

Well, good for them - and, yes, good for the forests, the environment and us - but what happened to the message of Christmas (even suitably adapted for our pluralist society) that necessitated the sending of this eco-friendly card in the first place...?

In case you can't make out the detail (and in case you care!) here's what it says:
In 2006 all monochrome hard-backs and trade paperbacks published by HarperCollins in the UK were printed on paper sourced from well-managed forests certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) - just like this year's greetings card, in actual fact

If anyone's still awake, please pass the humbugs!


Phil said...

I am tempted to play that Archie-inspired card game. I think the only 'snaps' we will get this year will be accompanied by the cry 'Penguin!' - that aquatic Antarctic fowl is the most common symbol on the cards I have received this year.

Brian Sibley said...

Gill has sent me the following comment on today's blog:

"Just read the blog. Agree that this card is not exactly full of the spirit of Christmas but I do think Jesus would have approved of saving trees!"

Agreed... Since he was into saving souls, there's no reason to doubt that he would have also wanted to save trees!