Handwritten correspondence seems to be dying a slow death. Perhaps this is part of the reason the United States Postal Service is a gazillion dollars in the red and has resorted to some “out of the box” solutions like stopping mail delivery on Saturdays and re-instituting the pony express and pack mules.
You realize you shouldn’t believe anything I say—the post office would never stop Saturday delivery. Right?
On one hand, I guess the decrease in mail saves paper. Although in theory, paper is a renewable resource. But, I also find it sort of sad that pixels have replaced ink. No one sends invitations, they send Evites. Birthday greetings are often wall posts on Facebook. Although I do get a lot more greetings since Facebook, so I’m not exactly complaining, merely reporting.
I personally don’t send a lot of mail, just occasional letters to my 100-year old grandmother who doesn’t have an email account—yet, and I like to give cards. When we started The Simple Year, I didn’t really want to discontinue all correspondence so I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do.
As often happens, it wasn’t even an issue. First, I still had some back stock of cards and stationary saved. Also, thrift stores seem to have an abundance of cards. Although I might have to buy a mixed bag of four Father’s Day Cards, one Congratulations on your 8th Grade Graduation, and a Happy Easter Abuela card to obtain the three birthday cards I was after, but they are still generally only a dollar or two a bag which is less than half the price of a single card at the Hallmark store. Then I just re-donate the rest.
But, I do want to share with you some other pretty creative solutions I have discovered.
Patron of the Arts
I found several packages of scrapbook paper at a thrift store and paid to have someone make me a handful of cards with it. I felt like I was supporting a local artisan while using recycled goods. Plus the cards were beautiful, unique and STILL cheaper than a Hallmark card.
Keeping Your Options open
My mother and her friends actually exchange cards that they think are funny for birthdays. They leave them blank and don’t seal the envelope so they can be used again. If you knew my mother, this wouldn’t surprise you. I like the idea, but this is probably a technique that can only work in a group of longtime friends. Can you imagine just handing one of your coworkers a blank card and then after they open it and give you a quizzical look you announce, “I left it blank, so you can use it again.”?
For the rest of your tenure with that company you will be known in certain circles as “the blank card” lady/man.
My youngest daughter, Kelsey brought home this birthday party invitation last year.
Now believe me, I can appreciate the simplicity involved here. But when she first handed it to me, I was pretty sure she and her friend had drafted the invitation on their own during kindergarten snack time. Since it looked so fishy, I promptly ignored it. I might not have been the only one since the birthday girl’s mom sent out a mass email in support of the party a day or two before.
I suppose ultimately no matter what type of greeting you send it is always the thought that counts.
Also, don’t forget I’m trying to find someone to take over this blog at the end of the year, if you haven’t, please take a look at The Handoff for details.