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I’m So Done With Hallmark…

“When you care enough to send the very best…”

Remember that line?

I used to be a Hallmark girl. I never ever sent an off-brand card before opening my store. But once I found myself in the gift business, I knew I needed to carry cards, and obviously they weren’t going to be Hallmark.

I found that there are tons of wonderful card companies out there; great artwork, some amazing writing. I ended up with a huge card selection for a small town, and we sold loads of them. I was apparently not the only one that wanted something different.

(Little side story on the subject of something different – Way back when I started going through my piles and piles and piles of cards, pictures and other memorabilia in preparation for scrapbooking, and putting them in folders by year, I discovered that my husband had given me the same Mother’s Day card, not twice, but 3 years in a row! Hallmark, of course!)

So, fast forward. No more store, and out in the world buying cards once again. There are no stores in the whole Sacramento area to compare with the old “My Favorite Things,” I’m afraid. I have to toot my own horn here. I was a GOOD buyer.

So, I have returned to my old ways, and for the most part I’m sending Hallmark cards. Again. But after this weekend, I’m not happy about it.

September is birthday month around the Tattered household. Both our kids are September birthdays, and so are both of their spouses. There are others, too, but these were the ones causing the stress. Stress? How can buying birthday cards cause stress, you ask?

For starters, Hallmark has no equivalence when it comes to sons and daughters. Americans must, for the most part, adore their daughters, and feel pride for their sons. Huh? Why is that? Do guys just not enjoy the mushy stuff, or do parents feel uncomfortable having mushy feelings for their sons? It is very frustrating. And then add in the “in-laws” and it’s even worse. And, since we usually celebrate all the birthdays together, they have the opportunity to see each other’s cards and I always worry that they will compare, and think we feel differently about them because of the basic words on the cards, regardless of the messages we add to them.

I know, it’s probably just me, but I worry about these things.

And so I spent a stressful morning reading cards. Over and over again, moving from aisle to aisle back and forth, trying to come up with 4 equivalent cards. I lost track of how long I was there – it seemed like eternity. Surely I was just missing the perfect ones. They had to be there, so I’d just go back and try again. I was miserable, and buying cards should not be a miserable experience.

I’m sorry Hallmark, but this time, ya done me wrong…

So, I had an Epiphany of sorts. I’m done. I have purchased my last Hallmark birthday card.

From now on, I’ll either be making cards, or buying generic ones that just say Happy Birthday. I’ve decided that if I my words and actions during the year do not make my kids feel ridiculously happy, incredibly appreciated and loved beyond reason, then no professional writer’s words or someone else’s art on a cheesy card are going to accomplish that.

Problem solved. At least that one. Now the problem becomes how to make sure they all, my whole family, feel ridiculously happy, incredibly appreciated and loved beyond reason all year long. Now THAT, is a fun kind of problem to have!

About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

8 responses »

  1. You always make me feel ridiculously happy, incredibly appreciated and loved beyond reason all year long!!

  2. Loved this post Janet! I still think handmades are the best and I try to make my own cards whenever I can. I feel almost insulted when I get a Hallmark instead of a handmade one 😉

  3. You are INCREDIBLY talented with art AND words!! Yes making cards is the answer, now where is the time? hahaha…that is the problem I run into sometimes. May September be especially Joyous around your house!! Love your family!!

    • Thanks, Laurie. I’m sure I can find the time if I want to badly enough. It’s all about choosing wisely! I am looking forward to fall…ready for cooler weather and the autumn palette of colors.

  4. I think you express the frustrations of many card buyers. As the mass market becomes more and more important, Hallmark starts producing more and more cards for that market. The numbers rule the production and their mass data has steered them in that direction. Occasionally, they will produce a great artist oriented line, but the traffic in the stores is not good enough to get the numbers where they need to be to sustain the line. I have to give them credit that they do try, but a corporate structure is a hard thing to overcome.

    • Thanks for your insight, Dennis. They’ve been around a long time, so they must be doing something right! There is no way they can be all things to all people. I’m just surprised that with all the choices they have per category, they have opted, particularly with “son” cards, to say “I’m so proud of you” with many different images, and none that go deeper into the relationship. An example would be one they had for daughters that had a note from mom on one side and one from dad on the other – wonderful card that I would have loved to get for our daughter, but nothing even remotely close for sons.
      Truth be told, even if they DID have exactly what I’m wanting, I’m both a fledgling artist and fledgling writer, and should be making my own anyway! Good to see you here! Haven’t seen you on Facebook in long time – hope all is well in your world!


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