Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Greeting Cards

There was a time when I bought 10 or 11 Hallmark greeting cards to address and mail for Mother’s Day. I assume most people don’t send nearly that amount… or maybe you do.

Before I married, I walked to the Mother’s Day card section of a store, searched for “From Daughter,” and found a card. A couple steps to the right or left, I found a card “For Grandmother” and I was done. Then marriage happened and my female relatives grew exponentially. I added two cards for my two mothers-in-law, two sister/sister-in-law cards, a card for a cousin-in-law who lost her only child in 1983, and some years, a card for a woman who my husband was close to while growing up and/or one of my aunts.

And then I had children, so the three mothers who became grandmothers to my children also got a grandmother card with handprints or scribbled signatures of the children. The sister/sister-in-law cards got swapped out for “Aunt” cards.
Once I told a neighbor that I was on my way to get my Mother’s Day cards.
“CardS?” (As in more than one) she asked.
“Yes,” I responded, as I rattled off a few of the recipients.
“Oh no!” she said with an assertive voice. “I only have one mother and she gets a card; my grandmother gets a card from her, not me. And my husband gets his own card for his mother.”
I thought about it and couldn’t argue with that rationale, yet I couldn’t discontinue the new family tradition. After all, I didn’t see all of the mothers frequently and I thought, “Why not send a card as a way of letting them know that I’m thinking of them. Sure I’ve spent over $35, but aren’t they worth it? And some of them send cards to me.”
My husband loves receiving cards. I wonder if I was influenced by him. Hmmm…
This year, Darling Husband and I have received more than our usual amount of graduation announcements. As the month of May sends me into a tailspin, I found myself behind in responding with a Congratulations card (that is still at the store). On my way to a grad party, it occurred to me to just write a note to the young one and I realized that it was much more satisfying to say what I wanted to say than to let Hallmark say it for me.
I think I’m onto something!
Actually, I’ve been gravitating this way for a few years. This past Mother’s Day, I asked my children to make cards for me instead of buying them. I didn’t get three (one from each of them), but the one I got with everyone’s signature on it was very special. My husband still bought one for me and I received one from my parents and another relative—and that’s okay.  Not everyone is going to write a note. I’ve learned that many people are not comfortable writing, and also, most find it easier to go to the store for a card. And, there ARE some pretty good writers at Hallmark, American Greetings, and whoever writes for the Dollar Store cards, so it’s good that they’re available.
I have to go there though. A friend and I were talking about the expense of graduation pictures by theme photographers that is a popular thing to do nowadays, which led to her saying that she gets an invitation with a great picture of a kid on it and ultimately, it gets tossed into the garbage. But, it’s reciprocal—the kid gets a greeting card from an adult, shakes it for possible dollars to fall out, and then tosses the card…eventually.
I’m proud to say that I keep the pictures; I have a photo album where they all go, along with the Christmas photos… not that you have to do the same. And I do enjoy getting them.
The 10 or 11 Mother’s Day cards are now down to 5. My granny and two mothers-in-law have passed on. I think they appreciated the cards. It was what their generation did. With e-cards and all the social media, I wonder about the future of greeting cards… and even a handwritten note.
What’s your greeting card modus operandi?
image from common wikimedia


Mari said...

I buy quite a few cards too, but like you not as many as I used too because some of them are gone.
I think you have a great idea though. Cards are getting so expensive and it's so hard to find one that says the right thing. Maybe next year I'll get a box of note cards and write it out. I think they mean more that way anyway. I'm much more likely to keep a hand written note.

Shelly said...

I am a card buying fool, but like you, I love to be able to send something. If I was creative enough, I'd handcraft my own cards like a friend of mine does, but for now, Hallmark says it for me!

Rebecca S. said...

A few years ago, my mother started making her own cards. She often uses photos from her garden or recycled images from art catalogs. Now, I have begun to do this. I am comfortable writing, so I like to say my own thing in a card. However, sometimes I find a gem in the store - often something humorous, and I buy it if it fits. Cards are expensive, so I'm very picky now. If I think I can make a better one, I will!

Betsy Brock said...

I love your idea! If you can spread more love and appreciation around, why not? It's all good!

Abby said...

When I was a kid, we always made our own cards out of construction paper. When I was older, I went the Hallmark route for a while, but now I've gone back to sending the homemade ones. For Mother's Day, I made cards for my mom and for my Grandma. Now, I don't give cards to anyone else but my own mom.

I think with e-cards and e-greetings so accessible, it makes physical cards all that more special.

Barb said...

In the past, I've always sent cards with my own photos, and I write a personal message. Also, I've begun using a postcard service on the web (PhotoCard app on my iPad) - you can choose from an album of wonderful photos or use your own (which I do) to make a 5 by 7 postcard. You can also write your own message, choose a special stamp, and add address - they're mailed out of CA within 2 days of your creation. I'm pleased with the personalized finished product, and I don't have to go anywhere to shop for them. PS I send several Mothers Day cards - my own mother and my husband's mother are gone, but there are many women who I like to remember with a card and message on this special day. My grandchildren make me cards - they're my favorite!

Kat said...

I love this. There is nothing like a handwritten note or letter. I still love them. I wish people wrote more often (wrote, with their hands, not computer). Nothing better than opening your mailbox and seeing a letter.
I do get quite a few cards. My mom usually gets 2 or 3 from us (one from hubby and I, one from me, one from kids) and same for my husbands mother. Sometimes I'll get one for my best friend as well. I think Mother's Day is for celebrating good mothers, not just your own mother. But I just buy gifts for my mom and MIL.

Rob-bear said...

Greeting cared seem to have gone the way of the Dodo at this apartment. My parents are dead; my mother/father-in-law, likewise. I have no sibling and have lost track of my first cousins. Besides, I'd rather send a more personal note, so e-mail works well for me. Or an e-card.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting
Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

Linda Hensley said...

I'm terrible at sending cards, but I love to receive them. Maybe I'll try to mend my ways. You're doing a wonderful thing for all those creative people who need jobs at Hallmark :)

Mage said...

Oh, you won't like me at all. I really didn't like my mother so tried to do nothing. Nothing for me either. Over the years, my card enthusiasm has faded away, and if I need to send something now, I send an email.

I know....I am awful.

Hilary said...

I think we all like receiving and sending handwritten notes. But Hallmark cards are WAY overpriced for what they are.. massed produced pieces of printed paper. They're not what counts - your words are. So I think your notes are far more personal than selecting greeting cards.

Anita, you stunned me when you said you have sent so many Mother's Day cards. It would never occur to me to send to some of the folks who made your list. I gave cards to my mother and grandmothers, growing up. When the elders passed on, it was my mother and mother in law. And yes, when my kids were born, there were cards in their name to their grandmothers.

Now I'm the only recipient left. My away from home son phones, and my at home son takes me out for dinner. Daughters tend to be better at understanding that a written sentiment is valued but I'm thrilled that my sons even remember. :)

Karen said...

I love sending (and receiving) cards. Sometimes I write my own notes, sometimes I buy cards, it all depends on my mood or what I have time for. I like sending Mother's Day cards to my family and to a few friends. . . love celebrating this journey that we're all on together.

My husband made it a tradition to take all the kids to the store so they could each choose their own birthday or mother's day card for me. Yes, it got a bit expensive, but I do treasure those cards. I loved seeing what each of them came up with, and they are all good about sending cards to this day. He trained them well:)

Jenny said...


I mail about 50 cards each month. I have a group of friends that distributes a 'support requested' list and then we all mail to all.

Right now I have a pile of Fourth of July cards on my table that my Grandlittles helped me make.

I also make and mail cards for all the holidays to everyone in my family (that it's relevant to)

I liked your thoughtful post.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Used to send cards. Enjoyed remembering birthdays.

But Christmas cards were always a burden. !!!!! So one year, I stopped them.

And by now, I don't send any cards.

Granted, I'm "olden" so this has taken time. But... I'm fully in the no-cards-camp and happy there.

You asked...


yonca said...

I really like sending cards or e-cards. Aria too..Always keep cards from him.They are in a box. Last week I showed him how his handwriting changed:)Choosing a card is fun for me! But also an e-cards makes me happy too when I get it.

Unknown said...

I have made cards or given a personalized letter and I have more satisfaction with the latter. I like that the recipient can "hear" my voice while reading my words. It seems more personal.

Buckeroomama said...

Although I have stopped buying greeting cards, I still keep a stash of blank note cards on hand and these are what I use for various occasions. With the kids, I get them to make and design their own cards. I just think it's more personal this way, more fun, and less expensive, too.

Annie Z said...

I recently clutter cleared my memory box which contained so many cards and letters. A lot of them I threw out, keeping the ones that still were special to me in some way or another.

What I did realise was how long it had been since I received a letter from a friend or a card from a student. I have many of each going back over the years that bring warm memories.

But I realised that it just doesn't happen anymore. Students don't take the time to write cards or give gifts anymore. With the instant communication of Facebook etc., they don't take the time to think long term. And the same goes for friends, I think. We go for instant and quick texting rather than being really thoughtful and taking time to sit down and write a letter or card.

I found myself being really sad that these traditions are slowly disappearing.

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