Did you ever have pen pals? I had a handful in junior high. It’s a shame kids these days have despicable writing skills (well, this doesn’t limit to children), yet they can finish a video game in one night (again, this doesn’t limit to children). It was exciting to receive letters from someone my age whom I’ve never met before, to find out who they were and discover our different lifestyles. Often times I was surprised at how much we had in common too. We eventually started sending each other photos and gifts pretty regularly. It was an odd but comforting concept to me; I made friends through solely communicating on paper, on the other side of the world, no less.
Of course, the world has changed and I, like everyone else, take full advantage of the convenience that is email and I, even as an owner of a greeting card business, will admit I don’t send cards as much as I should. But even though I’m guilty of lengthy emails, I think it’s important to take your hands off the keyboard and pick up a pen every now and then. One of the reasons why I want to keep the tradition of greeting cards alive is because I love the feeling of receiving an envelope with my name on it, knowing it came from someone I care for, and who obviously feels the same about me. Before the Internet took over, letters used to be personal and had substance. Nowadays, you usually only get bills and junk in the mail. When Canada Post was on strike, no one seemed to care, everyone just tweeted that everything is electronically delivered anyway and postal services are obsolete — I beg to differ. A few months later, I read that a short-sighted 91-year-old British man had been mistakenly putting his letters into a dog waste disposal box for two years! I was on the brink of tears. This reaffirms there are still people who need mailboxes (and that London seriously needs to paint their garbage bins a different colour! – Try green).
Since I was very young, my parents have always celebrated special occasions by marking them with a card, and they still do. With my dad being a graphic illustrator and designer, his impeccable taste of unique cards over the years encouraged me to eventually dabble in creating my own designs, evolving into queenie’s cards. The difference between keeping a card and printing out an email is that reminiscing a piece of 8.5” x 11” paper doesn’t do the message justice, despite the amount of emoticons used. Sure, it’s convenient for the sender, but consider the sentimental value of having a card for a keepsake. Also, how many times have you received the same birthday or holiday card? Honestly, one year in high school I received the same Christmas card 6 times!
Just something to keep in mind next time you’re deciding between an e-card (which may get deleted, sent to the spam box, will expire, and is not tangible unless you hit print-screen and save it as a JPG and print it out) OR mailing a thoughtful hand-written card that at least provides the option of safe-keeping.