Saturday, June 18, 2011

Choosing, Writing, and Reading Greeting Cards

A non-book kind of reading is reading greeting cards. Stationery stores, drugstores, supermarkets have aisles full of cards for all occasions: birthdays, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, get well, sympathy, new babies, graduations, retirements, and more. Then there are all the holidays: Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. And there are some strange “special days” obviously concocted by, or at least encouraged by, the card companies themselves: Secretaries’ Day (now Administrative Assistants’ Day), for example. Then there are subcategories in the card sections of stores: humorous, spiritual, inspirational, budget, etc. Despite the reams of cards available for sale, I often find it hard to find the right one for a specific person on a specific occasion. Many cards are too sentimental, too sugary, too trite, too awkwardly “funny,” too stiff and formal, too sexist, or too vulgar. I try to find cards with simple greetings: “Happy Birthday,” “Happy Holidays,” “Congratulations on your Graduation,” “With my Deep Sympathy.” If I can’t find the right card, I often use blank cards and simply write my own messages. Despite these negative remarks, I do like the idea of greeting cards, and enjoy sending and receiving them. For one thing, they are one of the last remnants of personal mail that arrives in one’s actual physical mailbox rather than email mailbox (although there are email greeting cards as well, and those are fine too).

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