Get Involved Cherry Trees Blog CHERRY TREES MONTHLY SURREY ADVERTISER COLUMN -16 The Christmas spirit is out there. Weaving its way from post boxes to post offices, up and down the country, via air mail and across oceans thousands of us are putting pen to paper to tell the people we care about that we are thinking about them this year. It’s like all things be it vinyl, hair scrunchies or a new generation ‘finding’ the American sitcom Friends, life brings us back the things we love in waves, once it’s due its turn again in the circle of life. Currently it’s the turn of Christmas cards. A decade ago The Telegraph reported a decline in the numbers of letters people sent to each other. Now the handwritten Christmas greeting is reversing that finding with this year’s card activity ‘off the scale’. Cards For Good Causes the UK’s largest retailer of charity Christmas cards has reported an increase of online sales of over 300% this year! Selling cards for over 250 of the UK’s charities, including Cherry Trees, they have helped raise over £40M in the last 10 years through their well-stocked online shop. Extra staff have had to be recruited to keep up with the picking and packing of online orders, whilst charities like ours have had to resupply them to keep pace with the online demand. The online shop for Cards for Good Causes is not the only place people can buy charity cards through them. Every year hundreds of short term Christmas ‘shops’ are set up by them for a fixed Christmas trading spell run by hard working volunteers across the UK. Here in Guildford, beside the River Wey, tucked behind the graceful Willow Tree sits St Nicolas Church. Every November our ‘branch’ of Cards for Good Causes shop opens up selling cards at the rear of the church. Under the arches robins, reindeers, berries and babies in managers are sold, and the setting keeps at the fore of our minds why we celebrate Christmas each year. This year, the ‘shop’ couldn’t open up as it usually does because of the knock-on-effect of the pandemic and it left many charities including Cherry Trees lamenting the absence of a familiar, welcoming and successful Christmas card outlet. How and where could we sell our cards without this usual spot, knowing demand would be high this year, with families kept apart and plenty of time at home to be passing the hours. With lockdown 2.0 closing all usual high street charity shops back in the early part of November, no wonder many have turned to online sites like Cards For Good Causes to put our pennies into pots that help all of society’s most vulnerable. At Cherry Trees our own online shop has seen orders ramping up from October onwards helping to raise us hundreds of pounds each day. Our annual children’s card ‘A Cherry Christmas’ made using a montage of the children’s handprints has been snapped up by people looking for a design which feels sweet, childlike and has the essence of the youthful excitement about Christmas. A return to a dwindling Christmas tradition has risen again. Another phase borne out of the pandemic, the power of love spread from our homes and our hearts to loved ones, old acquaintances and friends from long ago, that we all keep in our prayers to see in good times again. Merry Christmas from my post box to yours.