If you know me well, you probably know I’m not a huge fan of greeting cards. Now, if you give one to me, I’m not going to rip it up and toss it into my non-existent furnace. I do cherish some I’ve received over the years, but I don’t buy them… ever.
Most of the time, we all know why we are all gathered around to celebrate. You don’t need a card from me to remind you that I was at your house because it was your birthday, or that I’m glad it was your birthday, or that I think you’re great. If I’m there, you know I already believe all those things.
They don’t say anything truly personal, which is what people really cherish, and they’re a waste of paper. Paper money and paper for art, or novels, or scribbled grocery lists. And I like the fact that trees turn our trash into treasure, literally, so we can breathe and all.
So, imagine my shock when I came across these new “decorate-your-own” Hallmark cards and started filling my cart with a few. Admit it, they’re pretty cute, and they were only $0.97 each.
I was also on a budget, so the cute cards didn’t make the final cut. I could totally make them myself with some card stock and a thick Sharpie.
However, after further contemplation, I’m glad I didn’t buy them. Those cute ass cards represent one of many things I believe are wrong with our collective consciousness.
First, those hand-print “magic” cards for mothers and fathers day, now these? What happened to fucking paint? and glitter? and stickers? Was there a collective burning of art supplies and I just didn’t hear about it (Creepily, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that happened).
I am thrilled there appears to be a strong desire for people to make their own personalized gifts, cards, etc. but how truly “personal” are products like these? Personal enough to sell, and that’s all that matters.
We are so trapped in our capitalist birdcage we believe we can really just buy our way out and break free. (Notice I didn’t say “prison,” because you can actually buy your way out of there.)
And that includes “being creative.” Yes, we sometimes need to buy supplies to make a personalized gift or an ode to a Ozymandias, but these products imply that one simply needs to buy this product to “be creative.”
If the most thoughtful and creative gifts are really the ones plucked from a kiosk at Wal Mart, then why is it the things we usually love most come from the attic or the side of the road? It’s because they have character; A story. Maybe it belonged to your grandmother, or has a unique historical marking branded on it. Perhaps it’s the fact that someone made it carefully, tediously with the supplies they had, not what they bought at Wal Mart.
So, here’s my step-by-step solution to this, “personalize a card” dilemma:
1. fold a fucking piece of paper in half.
2. draw a design on one half.
3. color, paint, stencil, burn, stamp, or razor as desired.
If you’re feeling really daring, tear the blank half of the paper off and let the picture speak for itself; Unless you plan to write the recipient a real message or letter on the inside.
And if you feel like proving me wrong on this greeting card thing, I’d gladly cherish one of these…
Hallmark, I am totally available for hire, for the right price of course (see above post), especially if you’re considering releasing a provocative line of cards with curse words and nonsense song lyrics included in the “personal” messages.
But the point isn’t about greeting cards. It’s about greetings. If you want to send someone a personal way to tell them “I’m thinking of you” or “I’m glad you were born,” you don’t have to keep your creativity confined to your wallet. You don’t have to buy more stuff to make someone feel special, and your own mind is never limited by a price tag. We’re already buying our way into disaster, so break the cycle. Break out the paper and pens and really let people know how they inspire you. They likely deserve better than Wal Mart anyway.