On holiday cards...

I'm getting really sick of the greeting card selection for all holidays and celebrations.  I feel as if it was better several years ago.

I hardly ever give gifts but I will promptly send mostly family members a card for certain holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Xmas/Chanukah, Easter and birthdays which are what I consider the most important holiday.)  It's a nice, inexpensive way for a jobless wonder like me to say, "Hey, thanks for the check.  I can't give you anything but know I'm thinking of you."  Since I moved to CA, greeting cards are one of the major ways I communicate with family so it's important to find the right card for the right person.

I notice there are three principal types of cards.  There's the touching, sweet ones that don't go overboard with the sentiment.  They are the safest ones to send to people you don't know really well because they are nice and not overly familiar.  Then there's the funny cards which can range from cutesy to dry to raunchy.  Lastly, there are those really emotional, inspirational cards that are very personal (i.e. "On this Mother's Day I am reminded of you, Dear Mother.  To say I love you is not enough.  You are my inspiration and I thank you for every gift and joy you have bestowed on me..")  Sweet is safe but won't win you any points with my family members.  And if I sent one of those "You are the light of my life" cards to any of my relatives, it wouldn't warm their hearts.  It would scare the bejeezus out of them.  I can hear my mother's frantic voice asking if I had terminal cancer or something.  My best option has always been funny.  My family members like funny.  Funny is what makes them forget that I didn't give them anything.

The first several years I lived in CA, I had 2 grandmothers, 3 aunts and a set of parents that I sent cards every major holiday.  It wasn't until the death of one grandmother that I noticed the pickings for cards were getting slim.  It was all either geared to kids, super saccharin or adult humor.  However, I could still manage to wrangle enough funny cards for the remaining 5.  My other grandmother passed and one of my aunts no longer wants to receive any cards so now I only have 3 cards to buy at the holidays.  This should make things easier, right?  NO!

Here are some of the ways I'm fucked:

Father's Day- Every funny card is either about golf or bathroom humor.  My dad doesn't play golf and I personally don't feel comfortable making shit and fart jokes to him.  He wouldn't be necessarily offended but that humor implies a level of familiarity that I only have with one or two people (not Dad).  The other common option is from the "Daddy's Little Girl," going on about that weird, incestuous Electra complex type stuff.  I couldn't be further from that stereotype.  In fact, my dad and I have a tempestuous relationship at best.

Birthday- For girls, you have a lot of shop 'til you drop references and for guys you have a lot of allusions to how they're "gettin' lucky tonight."  For both sexes there are cards of scantily clad men and women and some reference like, "don't you wish I got you one of these."  I'm not even going to reference the "I love you more than my very being" cards because they are not even an option.

Chanukah- The pickings are very slim.  They're mostly religious or geared to children.  If you can find one with a joke, it's the most hackneyed Catskills comedian type of joke.  Just awful...

Christmas- Fresh from a card hunt at Target, I can tell you exactly what I found.  There were religious cards which I didn't even look at (none of the Christian relatives are at all religious).  I looked some at the general humor cards but they really were geared towards young children.  Those really aren't appropriate for my 2 aunts and my parents.  So I moved down the humor section and found a shocking array of crude cards.  I smiled when I saw a cute critter saying "I wanted to get you sonething personal for Christams..."  The punchline: "So I farted in the card."  Really?  Who wants that card?  Who sends that card and for what motivation?  Is it purely geared to people who giggle at any mention of bodily functions?  There were many cards referencing reindeer bowel movements.  There were half melted snowmen from dog urine.  One card had Mrs. Claus moaning while Santa was schtupping her.  There are cards where Santa says no to milk and cookies and begs for beer.


I kvetch not just because of the annoyance of having to rifle through nearly all the cards at a store.  I kvetch because it gives me a sense of hopelessness that those lowest com de nom cards are what the masses like.  I'm not saying that greeting cards should have the wit of Oscar Wilde but it would be nice not to have to make card shopping such a time consuming event.


473 views and 2 responses

  • Dec 19 2011, 5:24 AM
    Send Birthday Flowers responded:
    I often find myself in the exact same position as you. I can not stand the over emotional cards and often find the funny cards just don't fit in with the humour of who I am sending it to. I end up buying the boring ones with a random pattern on nothing really written inside other than when they steal my only thought which is Happy birthday etc! I am totally rubbish!
  • Dec 19 2011, 2:07 PM
    Lee responded:
    Oh, I hate that and have that problem all the time. Sometimes you just want to say the obvious reason for sending the card and there it is printed on the inside. I've gotten so lazy I just reiterate the sentiment, saying something like, "I hope you have a great (insert holiday)." Probably the most boring card ever...