When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best


The holidays are approaching and I’m getting my cards assembled. It’s mostly people age 50 and over who send greeting cards today. Younger people rely on WiFi to send their messages. Hallmark, American Greetings and other companies have online cards that can be personalized with music and all sorts of gimmicks.

I love sending cards, and have lots of grandchildren, relatives and friends like me who use the mail. It does get to be expensive. Still, there is nothing like receiving a card. It’s like a gift amid all the bills and circulars. It can be displayed and enjoyed again before recycling. Sometimes the sender encloses a note, and that makes it more special.

The cost of cards has escalated. American Greetings and Hallmark cards are priced between $3 and $5 and up. Often cards are more expensive than the gift! Even more pricey are the musical greetings with tiny batteries. They belt out melodies from bands or groups like the Beatles. You can usually find music from a particular era. I recently sent one to my grandson with a saxophone noodling “Happy Birthday.” He plays the sax in a jazz band. I laugh every time I hear the “La Cucaracha” card I saved. The battery is still going strong, and I love hearing the tinny trumpets in the mariachi trio.

I save particular cards with handwritten messages. Most of my cards are recycled, but I do keep the more meaningful ones. I’m not into overly sentimental prose and I hate the pedantic ones with flowery verse. I like the message to have a bite with a bit of sarcasm. Old age jokes get me laughing every time. Give me firemen hosing all the candles down on a birthday cake and I’m happy.

I am an inveterate card shopper and mail multiple cards every year. Birthday, graduation, get well, sympathy, thank you – the list goes on. This does not include holiday greetings and Christmas cards, so it gets to be an expensive practice. I do check out the dollar stores as they feature many of the top brands.

There’s also the environment to worry about. I recycle all paper products, but then there are the trees to think of. Computers were supposed to put a dent in our use of paper, but I seem to be using more of it than ever. I did some research and discovered the use of paper has increased in the age of technology. In the last 20 years, it’s gone from 92 million tons to 208 million tons. It has more than doubled in the U.S. Granted, we are recycling more than we did 20 years ago. Hmm, maybe those electronic cards you can send on the internet aren’t such a bad idea.

There are greeting cards made from recycled paper, and I try to buy them when shopping. I have noticed mission statements on the back of cards I’ve purchased. They run the gamut from “this card was made on recycled paper” to “this card was made with paper from well-managed forests.” Recently I received a card that goes a step farther. Besides a sustainable forest initiative statement and a “made in the USA” stamp, things got serious. The back of the card read, “Made from vegetable inks on acid-free, recycled, chlorine-free paper which produces no dioxins in the mill waste. A safe press wash avoids the most toxic part of printing. Our printing uses wind-generated electric power.”

Wow! I was stunned by all those words. I’m not a crunchy granola tree hugger, but I’m not against trying to save the environment either. I went on the Borealis card website and was impressed. They endeavor to operate a business in Maine that helps the economy and helps save paper and energy. I liked this company’s mission and no-nonsense approach. I certainly want to help in any little way I can to avoid deforestation of the planet. Besides, their cards were clever, with old black and white photographs. The company employed local people to make them. The cards were also in a competitive price range. I now have a new window of opportunity to spend some more money.

Christmas is coming, and I will need cards for the holidays. Who knew buying greeting cards could be so complicated?

Kathleen Donnelly lives in Beach Haven Terrace.



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