When you are growing up, your family provides you with traditions/customs that were part of their life and that they want to be part of your life. Sometimes it is around food – someone always makes the corn pudding on Christmas or the chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving. Sometimes it is around activities – perhaps a yearly ski trip or summers at the beach house, or even family game night. Others are just small gestures or simply sayings. One of my favorite family traditions is cards, or how I like to think of them, love letters.
I define a love letter as a simple note of kindness sent through the post office for a holiday, birthday, or my favorite reason – the just because cards. It is hard to put into words the joy I feel when I put a letter in the mailbox. There is an element of surprise because you know you sent it, but the recipient has no idea a love letter will be among their bills and junk mail. There is an element of planning because you must purchase or make a card and you must buy a stamp. And there is an element of participating in an art that isn’t practiced much anymore – the art of sending a card.
Typically you send a card with something in it, because why not? My grandma used to send my mom $1 bills while she was in college in the 1970’s; and while I was living in NYC she took to sending me band-aids. Sometimes I was even gifted cash for cabs or Starbucks which I would save until I needed either. Thank you cards are a must after any holiday gift exchange or birthdays. The house rule growing up was – you write a note or send the gift back. The choice was simple enough. We wrote, and still write, thank you notes.
Taking the time to write a card is a moment of peace and pure joy in my day. My favorite to send are just because cards – no holiday, no birthday, just a simple love letter. Finding the perfect card for the perfect occasion is so special. I purchase cards months in advance and file them away until I find the right time to send it. Finding a discount card bin gets me so excited – you can always find a gem or two. I have trouble paying over $6 for a card, as some seem to be these days; but sometimes if the card is just that perfect, I’ll splurge. I remember calling my mom in college and telling her jokingly that I needed an increase in my allowance just for cards as it is her fault I love sending them so much. So nice of me, right?
I’ve become more aware in the last several years that artists are turning to cards and using them to promote their brand, putting the same amount of care and attention into them as they would a full print. It is a job I would love to have one day – that of a card creator. Some of my favorite cards at the moment are:
TreeNex (the Happy Anniversary card in the image above) which plants a tree for each card purchased; so each card recipient gets a tree and a card. Images of their tree lives on a site where they can watch it grow.
Poketo (the card with the orange envelope and lots of small pictures) is a boutique site I found while Christmas shopping a year or so ago. Just love their unique LA themed cards since it reminds me of home.
Emily McDowell (the we are all awesome card) was a new find for me this year thanks to Tiffany and I love her style. The handwriting is beautiful and unique and the cards just crack me up.
Cards from Lola Louie Paperie (the envelope with hearts) was a birthday gift from my dear friend Alexis, who knows the way to my heart is through beautiful stationary.
The simple things in life sometimes bring the most joy. I hope the post office stays in business so the simple act of writing a card can always be part of my life.
Anyone else in love with cards? Please do share!