• Caroline Donough

My Love Affair with Greeting Cards


A friend sent me a Chinese New Year card recently - a real card delivered by snail mail - and I thought I'd write about it and my thoughts about cards in general. Since I don't celebrate Chinese New Year, receiving this card was a nice surprise. I like it a lot because it has a cute image of a dog on it (this year happens to be the Year of the Dog) and I love dogs. Maybe that's why my friend sent it to me, knowing it would make my day. Bless her.

Some people may ask, "Real cards in this day and age? Really?"

Yes. Really. I love them and here's why:

Tangibility

A real card is a physical, actual thing. For someone to make the effort to shop for a card, handwrite a personal message on it and then head to the post office to send it out, that means a lot. At least to me it does. Sending a real card is like saying, "Hey, I'd like you to have this tangible little something from me that you can hold in your hand." That's rare these days, and in my book, pretty special.

Mementos

The other thing I love about real cards is that they make ideal keepsakes. They're like little works of art, not to mention bits of treasure. So I keep all of mine in an adorable cardboard box that I bought from Lovely Lace years ago. Birthday cards, Thank You cards, Friendship cards, you name it... that box is home to some irreplaceable tokens of remembrance, including a very old card and letter my eldest brother sent when I was still in college.

Nostalgia

This one's kind of personal for me and not everyone will get this but that's fine. I'm a Gen Xer who grew up in a time before the explosion of the internet and e-cards, and like a time machine, real cards have a way of taking me back there - especially to my childhood Christmases, which I can still recall quite vividly. When I was growing up, my parents sent out lots of cards at Christmas and we received lots, too. And those cards adorned our home. They were so pretty. My favourites were the ones with images of snowy winters, cosy fireplaces and the Nativity. Although we had the tree, the decorations and the holiday music to set the mood, it was those cards - from friends and family, near and far, with handwritten messages in each one of them - that was the icing on the cake. Maybe I'm romanticising a bit here but even as a child at the time, I sort of knew they meant something.

Well, it's the year 2018 now and things have certainly changed. Though they're still around, real cards aren't as popular as they used to be. There are times, like right now as I sit here and type this, that I miss what was, and then I look at the card my friend sent me and it all comes back. And therein lies my solace - real cards - for they take me down memory lane to some of the best moments of my early life. And that's why I like them so much.

Don't get me wrong, I love e-cards and all the fun GIF and Flash files we have these days. No, seriously, I adore them and I use them a lot. The fact that we can send them instantaneously via social media or email - and for free - how cool is that? Plus, how else would we send someone a real card without their address, right? Right. So shout-out to e-cards.

But you know what? As much as I love the convenience of e-cards, there's this slightly old-fashioned part of me that just won't abandon real cards. I take immense pleasure in sending them. And receiving them. I know it's an almost lost art, but thankfully, I still have a few people in my life who share my sentiment. And maybe... just maybe... we'll be able to play our part in preserving this classic tradition.

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