Just one in 80 Christmas cards features the traditional Nativity story of Jesus being born in a stable, a shocking survey by The Mail on Sunday has revealed, wrote dailymail.co.uk
Church leaders said the findings were further evidence that people were losing touch with the real reason for Christmas celebrations.
The survey of festive designs by leading greeting card producers Hallmark and Card Factory found that only seven showed Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the wise men or an angel – out of more than 580.
When the MoS visited branches of Waitrose, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Waterstones last week, incredibly not one was selling cards featuring the Nativity theme.
Even the Church of England has faced criticism after a parishioner complained that a card sent by her local diocese depicted a wreath hanging on a door.
In a letter to the Church Times newspaper, Mavis Jacobs of Norwich said the ‘secular’ design appeared to be motivated more by a desire ‘to cause no offense’ than proclaim the Christian faith.
Last week, a Mumsnet poll for this newspaper found that nearly a third of primary schools are either dropping or watering down traditional Nativity plays.
The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said it was a ‘worry’ that the proportion of cards depicting the Nativity was in steep decline. ‘We talk a lot about choice in the market but actually our choices are being narrowed, and the fact that there are not enough Christian themes to choose from should be a worry to us,’ he said.
‘If manufacturers leave out the Nativity, then people are deprived of a choice.’
The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, said: ‘Mainstream manufacturers can’t say people don’t buy religious cards if they don’t provide them. I would like them to offer more choice so people can be reminded of the real point of Christmas.’
The Greeting Card Association says that last year more than a billion Christmas cards were bought in the UK. Hallmark and Card Factory declined to comment.