I am amazed by the constant volume of greeting cards on display at those retailers that sell them. I seriously doubt as many people send greeting cards as, say, 50 years ago. Christmas cards are a great example. When I was a kid there were actually two mail deliveries a day in the week or so leading up to Christmas. This was needed to handle the huge number of Christmas cards people used to send each other. Christmas cards were a big deal—a major part of the holiday process. There was usually one, focused sit-down night when my mother would gather up all the scattered addresses for friends and relatives and then sit down at the kitchen table to sign cards and address, stamp and seal envelopes. And don’t think there wasn’t a little politicin’ going on as these cards came and went. Dinner conversation at the time usually included one or two references to someone’s card…”Honey, did you see the cute Santa on the Gibson’s card? I thought that was very clever, certainly better than that ugly Christmas tree one they sent last year.” Ugly Christmas tree one for cry’n out loud. Yes, people actually remembered cards from Christmases past. A lot of social standing was being weighed in with each card back then…and maybe a little holiday sentiment, too, down there somewhere in the crease of the envelope.
One reason I suspect we send fewer cards today, Christmas or otherwise, is the price. Holy Salutations Batman, have you looked at the back of greeting cards lately? That’s some greeting right there I’ll tellyuh. It’s hard to find a basic “Happy Birthday You Old Fart” card that goes for less than four bucks. And you can add another three or four dollars if you want one of those cards that has sound or music of some sort.
Meanwhile, face it, there are only so many ways to wish someone happy birthday, congratulations, sorry your sick, sorry you died, another anniversary, happy baby. Have you ever stood at the card rack pulling out cards one after another, never finding the perfect one you’re looking for? Of course you have. That’s because the perfect one does not exist anymore. It’s been written a gazillion times and the same flowers, cute puppy or rear end of a horse has adorned the front of the card for centuries. And just as side a note…ever notice that cards never go back into the rack as easily as they were removed? How frustrating is that?
One solution I’ve turned to for all this card chaos is making my own cards. Hey, I can’t do any worse than the ones at the store. In fact, I can personalize them. I write things on the card that are about the person to whom it’s being sent. That includes the person’s name somewhere in the text. I’ve also written very specific poems on many of the cards I make and I usually zero in on something relative to the receiver. Sometimes I will even use a picture of the person on the card which sure beats the rear end of a horse…well, most times.
I even developed a logo for my cards and it appears on the back of every one, just like those big guys Hallmark and Shoe Box. That’s my logo pictured up top. The first slogan I considered using with it was something like “When you care enough to show people you’re too cheap to buy a professional greeting card at the store.” Yeah, I know, a little long…but the sentiment’s there.