What is more uninspiring and cold than an aloof, two-word phrase posted on your Facebook wall by someone you haven’t physically spoken with in a decade?
“Happy birthday,” the post reads, yet you scroll over the generic text to the next 20 carbon copies by the next score of “friends”. You know all of these posts are inspired by the magical “birthday reminder” tool, and it’s disheartening to realize that nobody even remembered, much less cared, that it was your birthday.
But what if you went to your mailbox that same day and discovered a handwritten birthday card? Your mood would lift, your brow would raise, and you would feel appreciated. Handwritten cards are truly the way to show a person you care about them.
Spending Precious Time
Finding the perfect card for someone takes more time than a quick trip to the dollar store. Browsing through the card aisle at the grocery store takes at least 15 minutes, if you’re being hasty.
Taking the time to drive to a specialty store and search the hundreds or thousands of cards could be an afternoon’s endeavor in itself. Even surfing online outlets takes time that you could easily spend doing something else.
Of course, sitting down to write your message could take the longest, depending on how much you want to say.
Yet, when you are looking for a card to convey something that a quick text message or email just can’t get across, somehow spending a few hours seems like the least you can do.
Those on the receiving end of the card will surely appreciate the fact that you spent your precious time finding the right card and writing out the message that may even change your relationship.
Keepsakes to Remember Fondly
Ask someone how many of the handwritten cards they have ever gotten that they still have, and they will probably tell you “most of them”.
Nobody keeps text messages or Facebook posts, printing them out and framing them for their hallway. Nobody puts old emails in their scrapbook to look back on in 10 years and reminisce over the feelings they felt when they read it. Greeting cards, though, are kept for generations.
“These are the cards everyone sent when they found out we were pregnant with you,” your mother may say to you one day, showing you a shoebox full of beautifully written cards. Or perhaps your wife will one day flip through a scrapbook she compiled of your marriage memories, each page featuring the card you sent her in that bouquet of flowers for your anniversary every year, with a whole page full of cards you received on your wedding day.
Handwritten cards are memories in themselves, and people tend to keep them around like photographs of loved ones, to remind them of times and people who they care for.
The Power to Heal
If you’ve ever gotten into a tiff with a loved one, you know how much things can change with a simple apology. But what if you’re hundreds or thousands of miles apart? An email might not convey how much you regret the time wasted holding a grudge.
I remember hearing about a woman who had not heard from her brother in 20 years or more. She sent him a card to let him know she was thinking of him, then as a result the brother called and the siblings reunited.
Cards have the power to make people believe in one another, to realize people care for each other, and to heal scars of the past.
Reasons to Write
If you’re like me, you’re the kind of person who prefers a spelled out list of reasons to send a handwritten card to someone. Anecdotes aside, the reasons to write boil down to the following:
- Social media is great in a pinch, but to send a message of heartfelt appreciation, sometimes your own penmanship is the best way to put it.
- People appreciate receiving handwritten cards, and tend to keep them around as keepsake memories, much like photographs.
- If you want someone to remember you care about them, especially someone you love, then sending a card is a surefire way to make sure they have your physical presence around at all times.
- Knowing someone has not only thought of you in their mind and heart, but has acted on that thought and spent their precious time and resources to show you they care is something to be treasured.
- If you’ve everdoubted that someone knows how much you appreciate them, or wanted to apologize to someone in a memorable way, a handwritten card is one of the best ways to pass on the word.
In our day of instantaneous responses, fiber-optic internet, and zippy smart phones, it’s no wonder we’re becoming so distant from each other. Stepping away from the world inside our head (or phone) is a task we should all strive for each day, let alone on special occasions.
To remember someone dear is to remember that the world is a much bigger place than we seem to make it, and to remember that time is fleeting is a real gift. Take that fleeting time and those memories of dear people, and put them to good use by sitting down to pen out a handwritten greeting card.
George Jackson is a Director at Paperpotamus Paper Products Inc. (www.paperpotamus.com), a Canadian greeting card wholesale & distribution company, supplying very high quality cards to the retail trade including gift shops, floral shops, stationery stores, book stores, as well as chocolatiers.