Yesterday I stumbled across this wonderful post about why we don’t send greeting cards as often and how social media may be part of the reason why. Never one to let a cultural question die, I evaluated my own personal stance (don’t laugh cause I totally have one) and commented. I fear I may have come off a bit aggressive or at least kind of an anti-greeting card freak. Please allow me to explain.
In my comments I explained that my husband have negotiated (the use of that word is deliberate) the following occasions where I will buy and send greeting cards:
1) Birthday (in lieu of a gift, the cash or gift card needs to go somewhere) but if you’re getting a present… no card for you.
2) Wedding *see above gift stipulation
4) Thank you
5) Christmas/Festivus/Hanukkah/Kwanza * see above gift stipulation
6) Individual ‘personal’ holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Wedding Anniversary)
7) Valentine’s Day (significant other and/or your child)
I come from a long line of letter writers, of card senders… BUT we are reasonable about it. I have the card my great grandmother sent my folks when they adopted me and birthday cards from relatives who aren’t around anymore (including a plain white envelope with my uncle’s handwritten “because you are my favorite niece” and a rubber cockroach inside). We just don’t send them for EVERYTHING.
I married into a lovely family from the Midwest who sends (and expects in return) 3 times the normal amount of greeting cards. I neither expect them, nor am I planning to set up some kind of storage for these cards that on the off chance my in-laws will come to visit and will demand to see where we have stored the last 10 years of anniversary, Valentine’s Day and Halloween cards they have sent us. When I receive a Valentine’s Day card from my Mother-in-law, am I expected to reciprocate? What if I don’t? If we had kids it would be different, the kids could send cards and pictures for every holiday under the sun and that’s fine, but as adults… do our 40+ year old selves really need to send my in-laws an anniversary card? It’s their special holiday, not ours. I never expect one on our anniversary and in truth I feel awkward when we receive one.
I think it comes down to one word. Reciprocation. Does the sender expect the same in return? I admit feeling somewhat resentful for having to reciprocate something I feel is unnecessary or even wasteful. We ALL know it’s the 4th of July, and every American knows what we celebrate… do I need to send a card? When I don’t send one do I need to be on the receiving end of a reprimand, however gentle that may be?
Don’t get me started on my Birthmother who shows just how tech savvy she is by only ever sending e-cards. Sadly there is no way to reply without a subscription. Oy Vey.