It's that time of year again when I start looking for cards to give my friends and family in the festive season. And, as a pagan, I find it difficult to find suitable cards.
There are always so many lovely cards that say Happy Christmas, but witches don't call our midwinter celebration "Christmas". We honour Yule, the Winter Solstice, the rebirth of the Sun or perhaps the feast of Frau Holle, rather than the Christian religious festival to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Whether I am giving cards to pagans, Christians or atheists, I prefer to simply wish my friends Season's Greetings or be able to write my own message in a space that has been left blank for that purpose.
I usually prefer to buy cards that are sold in aid of charity, as I like to think my money is going to a worthwhile cause. This year The Multiple Sclerosis Trust has a large range of cards that just say "Season's Greetings". This includes traditional images of snowy landscapes, such as the picture on the left of a winter stream, and some more unusual pictures that are well worth having a look at.
A set of 10 cards with the Winter Stream image are priced at £3.75. You can buy them via the MS Trust website at http://www.mstrust.org.uk/shop/christmas/
The Red Cross also has a wide range of cards with a message inside saying "Season's Greetings" - some are even bilingual in Welsh and English. The picture at the top of this page shows highland deer and comes on a pack of 10 cards from The Red Cross that costs £3.50.
They are made from sustainable materials and printed in the UK. All of the profits from the sale of these charity Christmas cards support the charity's work helping people in crisis in the UK and overseas. You can see the entire range of Red Cross seasonal cards on its website at http://shop.redcross.org.uk/shop/subsection.asp?id=85795
The V&A museum, in London, has a really good range of cards with images and messages likely to appeal to pagans. The image top right is one example, showing the stage backcloth for the final scene of the ballet The Firebird, designed by Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962). The Firebird is a Slavic folk tale about a magical bird from a far-off land, which can bring either blessings or doom to those who try to capture it.
A pack of 10 cards cost £5 and are available from the V&A online shop at http://www.vandashop.com/ Every purchase helps support the museum.
If you are looking for a single card to give someone special, then the one on the right called Welcoming Yule could fit the bill. It shows a man and woman in medieval dress welcoming the dawn in a snow-covered landscape and is reproduced on a seasonal card from an original painting by English visionary artist Briar.
They might not be sold in aid of charity, but this Cool Yule basset hound and border terrier card packmade me smile. I'm not sure what they say inside, however, as it wasn't mentioned on the website.
The cards are from Animal Fanatics. A pack of 10 normally costs £3.99 but they are on sale at Amazonat the moment for just £1.49 - a very cool price as well as a cool picture!
Cool Yule Basset Hound & Border Terrier Luxury Christmas Cards Pack