Fireplace Mantelpieces: The Quintessential Emblem of Britishness, Says New GCA Research

In a setting echoing the comforting aroma of fish and chips on a Friday evening or the incessant chirping about the predictably unpredictable British weather, nothing quite captures the essence of British home life like the fireplace mantelpiece, a recent study from the UK’s Greeting Card Association (GCA) suggests.

Bearing the #Cardmitment Torch

Inspired by the high prevalence of birthdays in September, the #Cardmitment campaign seeks to celebrate the quintessentially British tradition of proudly displaying greeting cards on the mantelpiece—a habit that prominent designer and TV personality Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen eagerly supports.

Spanning the past two decades, the 27th of September has remained the most popular birthday, with a majority of top-ranking birth dates clustered in this month and early October. This season of celebration elevates the fireplace mantel from a mere structural element to a vibrant hub of heartfelt messages and well-wishes, uniting families in a warm embrace.

On average, Brits showcase their birthday cards for about nine days, although the duration tends to vary across regions. While the residents of Scotland and Northern England prefer an eight-day display, individuals in the Midlands and Wales extend their celebrations to a ten-day showcase.

Remarkably, a portion of the population in Wales and the Midlands let the festive vibes linger for up to a month, with 15% of Britons leaving their cards on display for over 15 days, embodying the joy and value that a greeting card can bring.

Breathing Life into Tradition

At the helm of this nostalgic journey, the GCA represents over 500 local card stores, publishers, and manufacturers, innovating ways to encourage Britons to embrace the joys and benefits of sending and receiving cards.

Amanda Fergusson, the GCA’s chief executive officer, expressed the nation’s deep-rooted affection for this tradition, highlighting its contribution to sustaining local businesses and fostering community bonds. She stated, “Cards nurture local independent businesses on the high streets we all love, support local charities and organisations in the communities we care for and helps protect the Royal Mail delivery service we all treasure.”

Supporting this initiative, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen emphasised the genuine connections fostered through the exchange of greeting cards—a gesture steeped in authenticity, creativity, and craftsmanship. “I feel that greeting cards are a very important part of making and retaining relationships. The sending of a greeting card is not AI, it’s something real, based on real emotions, creativity and craftsmanship, and I feel privileged to be part of this.”

More Than Just Mantelpieces

The GCA study further delved into the quirks and nuances that make a home distinctly British, shedding light on the following tell-tale signs:

  1. An ever-present readiness to say ‘sorry’ at the drop of a hat.
  2. An unending conversation revolving around the weather.
  3. A firm belief in the problem-solving prowess of a cup of tea.
  4. The beloved tradition of biscuit dunking in tea.
  5. Utilising cards as decorations for various occasions, exhibiting them proudly.
  6. Placing the washing machine conveniently next to the sink.
  7. A demonstrated affinity for queues, even extending to household bathroom lines.
  8. Exclusive use of electrical sockets equipped with individual switches for enhanced safety.

For more insights into the charming quirks that define British households, further details can be found here in the comprehensive research conducted by the GCA.

Sam Allcock

Sam Allcock is the founder of PR Fire. He helps small to medium-sized businesses land coverage in publications through smart press release distribution.

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