As I was plunking down $3.59 for a birthday card at WalMart yesterday, I thought about how much money I spend each year on greeting cards—and how little thought I really put into them. Seriously, some of the cards out there are complete rip-offs. I mean, no offense to Hallmark and American Greetings, but really—do some of these cards really sell? The sad thing is, yes, I know they sell. Grandma Bertha picking up a card for her granddaughter after refilling her hemorrhoid medicine at the drug store . . . A husband filling up with gas and then grabbing a card for his wife so he doesn’t go home empty-handed on their anniversary . . . A harried mom snagging the first card she sees while running through WalMart for a birthday party her son is to attend in 30 minutes (Guilty.).
Just to make sure I wasn’t wrongly accusing the world of peddling gaggy mass-produced cards, I checked out the selection at the local supermarket on my lunch break today. Although there are some really cute and clever cards available, there are also many, many that I believe should probably be put out of their misery.
Here are some trends I noticed:
1) Cheesy animals impersonating humans. Don’t tell me that you haven’t gotten one of these cards from your hubby. Nothing says “love” like frogs wearing hats. (Well, except maybe a crow.)
2) Outdated cartoon characters. If Tweety isn’t gracing the front of a woman’s nightgown at WalMart, she’s delivering thanks. And seriously—Does anyone even know who Foghorn Leghorn is anymore? I failed to take a picture of the Garfield card. But I did see it.
3) Butterflies. Who knew that butterflies were so versatile? A butterfly can represent thankfulness, thoughtfulness, and retirement. And what man doesn’t want to receive a card with a pretty butterfly on it for his birthday?
Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way advocating the banning of greeting cards. In fact, I actually love cards. There’s just something about receiving something that is handwritten that touches me deeply. Probably explains why, when cleaning out the basement last weekend, I found an old birthday card signed by my late Grandma Peterson (who used to call me “Paul” for some reason that I still haven’t figured out) in her distinct handwriting and her unique way of hyphenating “Grand-Ma,” as well as a very rare note from just my dad (who usually just had Mom sign both of their names on cards) that said simply, “Don’t let the boys get you down. Dad.” In these times of texts and Tweets, receiving something that’s been handwritten is special.
In fact, my goal is to send out more cards and notes, not only for birthdays and Christmas, but for other unexpected reasons as well. And instead of grabbing a card as an afterthought during a grocery run, I’m going to support artists and small businesses who produce unique, gorgeous, and sometimes hysterical, handmade stationery that really delivers the message I want to send and reflects my personality.
And you know what else? Most of the time, you can buy these notecards for the same price as (or less than!) the one with the gaudy gold flowers that’s half-faded from sitting in a display by the convenience store window.
I challenge you to do the same!
Here are some of my favorites from different Etsy vendors. Feel free to purchase any of these cards and send them to me. (Shameless plea for friendship and correspondence.)
from Crafted by Lindy
from made by michelle brusegaard
from Pistachio Press