My mother is a card giver. For every birthday and at Christmas I could look forward to a beautiful card with her hand-written inscription. When it was accompanied by a gift, I made sure to read it first – and after a suitable pause to reflect on the words – I would “reluctantly” close the card and proceed to rip into the contents of the present.
I used to be a card-sender myself up until a few years ago. I followed my mother’s example – thinking that a gift could never be properly presented without an accompanying card. These days a card will only complement the gift I’m giving if I’m not willing to take the chance that the recipient not know who it’s from.
And now, all thanks and praise go to the inventor of the gift tag.
Left up to me, the greeting card companies would go out of business, since I’ve found that the cost of the cards coupled with the time spent looking for an appropriate specimen is inversely proportionate to the time that the person spends reading it. I’ve used up a good fifteen minutes trying to choose the perfect card that I know the person will barely glance at as they busy themselves trying to find out what’s in the package.
Besides – some of the wording in the cards is so, not me.
I’m not sure if Helen Steiner Rice is still as popular as she used to be, but if you ever got one of her cards you’d have to be prepared to wade through a ton load of flowery language to find your “Happy Birthday” at the end. These days there are a ton of other cards that are directed to specific ethnicities and designed to celebrate made-up holidays, but the funny ones are the only ones that are worth my time – but sadly – not my money.
Greeting cards aren’t all bad though. They’re the perfect foil for that time when you don’t actually have a gift but don’t want to go to the function empty-handed. And the only reason why the recipient might smile with gracious acceptance is because they’re imagining the possibility that a twenty or fifty dollar bill might be lurking within.
Successful card writers make a living putting words in our mouths that they think the recipient wants to hear. But much like the ones in many a blog post they are quickly forgotten. I’ve held on to some cards during my infamous purging sessions – but it’s more about the person who sent it to me than what the card writer said.
So it’s probably best that the next time she just call me instead.
These days I’m sending ecards, so I’d say I’ve saved about fourteen trees so far. The words are still not mine and sometimes it takes forever and three days to find a free one that I can stomach sending. But I take my time and read the words carefully which I think is the least that I can do – because none of those cards is going to be attached to any gift.
Wishing a Merry Christmas to all my readers – card givers and receivers alike.