I'll confess I kill a few trees every year sending out greeting cards to my grandkids, kids, sibs and sibs-in-law, nieces, and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and friends. Between birthdays and anniversaries, that's got to be over 100 cards. And that's not counting holiday cards. Hallmark loves me. So does the USPS.
But as I sit here preparing a birthday card for my nephew who is turning 38, I have to ask myself why. Each year, the number of cards I receive grows smaller. Instead, I receive Facebook greetings. When I first noticed this phenomenon I felt wistful. Are folks really that busy? Is it too hard to shop for a card and put it in the mail?
Upon further reflection, it's time for me to join the 21st century. It's true some cards I receive are keepers. But these are the ones from my husband, kids, and grandkids that include personal messages. The latter are often homemade, making them even more special. A few cards I receive make me chuckle, and then I toss them. The rest make me happy to have been remembered, but so do the Facebook messages.
I'm quite sure my nephew won't find my card that funny or special. After all, there's no gift card inside. I figured I could stop that practice after college, or certainly after marriage. Plus, it will arrive late because it's been in my purse for a week. At least my Facebook greeting will be on time. My computer reminds me to do that.
And yet, I can't totally give up my addiction to greeting cards. After all, how do I give a gift without one? My granddaughter tells me, "No one cares about the card, " but somehow I think they should. I was brought up to open the card first and thank the giver before opening the gift. It's still the thought that counts, right? And choosing the perfect card to go with the gift, a card that will make the recipient laugh or tear up over its sentiment, is still important to me.
Holiday cards are a tough issue as well. I'm not talking about those old fashioned "seasons greetings" ones. No one sends those anymore. What I was receiving up until the last couple of years was an assortment of photo greeting cards that I loved. And I was sending out one of my own. But judging from the dwindling numbers of these cards last year, I am guessing Facebook is killing those as well. After all, it's easy enough to post that same family picture and greeting online. And as an added bonus, you can post your "year in review."
While I will miss seeing the photo cards on my mantel, I guess I understand. In January they were just more trash to toss. I used to save these cards in my photo albums, which have also bitten the dust. I do create a photo book of favorite family photos from the year, and I do save some of the photo cards in the box I reserve for greeting cards with messages and grandkid creations. But I know I'm in a minority there, clinging to the vestiges of a different era.
Times charge and folks like me have to adapt. We have to admit that greeting cards may be good for the card-making industry, but they are bad for the environment. Manufacturing cards and then throwing them out probably makes little sense. Sadly, the folks who design, print, and sell cards are probably losing their jobs. These trends are always a difficult trade-off.
I have already purchased December's greeting cards. In addition to my nephew, my husband, grandson, great niece, nephew-in-law, and sister-in-law have birthdays. And I am still debating sending out my traditional Happy New Year photo card. But I have made my first New Year's resolution: No more greeting cards except for little kids, grandkids, my children, and my husband. Unless the card is attached to a gift, I will make my good wishes online.
Painful as it may be, I promise to end my addiction to sending greeting cards. So have a wonderful holiday season (however you celebrate it) and Happy New Year!
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Earlier on Huff/Post50:
Valentine's Day Cards From The Stars
I would never treat your heart like a ping-pong ball, Valentine.
I'm quite "Taken" with you, too, Valentine.
I'm just a man... standing in front of you... asking you to be my Valentine.
You're one of my favorite things, Valentine!
Free me with your love, Valentine!
Don't play with my heart strings, Valentine. Be mine!
This isn't an act, Valentine. Be mine!
The truth is still out there, Valentine... I