As an English person, I love sending and receiving cards – postcards, birthday cards, Christmas cards, the lot. They’re great mementoes you can keep for ages and I have a big bag filled with birthday cards from when I was little, as well as a box of postcards I’ve received over the years. I’m aware I sound a lot like a hoarder at the moment and maybe I am a little.
When I was younger, I would personally make birthday cards for my friends, printing off pictures of us together, their favourite band or something related to a private joke. That way I could write exactly what I wanted on the card and I’d often write a little personalised poem inside too.
But then, I got older, less artistic and hand-making cards became time consuming. I started buying cards from the high street card shops. I remember at first there was a huge variety of cards for a standard amount of people – Mum, Dad, sister, brother, cousin, nan, grandad, auntie, uncle, friend and then the childrens ones with badges. It was fairly easy to find a suitable card that had pictures of football, cakes, flowers or whatever that person liked, there seemed to be a lot of choices and adjectives.
Today I was in a card shop, trying to find some Christmas cards and adding to the list above for the ‘relations’ section of the card shop were: Mum and step-dad, Dad and stepmum, Nanna and Grandad, Nanny and Grandad, Nana, Nanna, Granny, the both of you, like a Mum, like a Dad, step-brother, step-sister, Auntie in-law, Uncle in-law, Godfather, Godmother, Mam, one I love, partner, someone special…you can even buy cards for your literate cat or dog.
Because the relations you can buy for increasing over the past few years, I’ve found the quality of cards has gone down. I’m a person who likes to make sure that I don’t buy a card that doesn’t represent the person who I’m buying for. I also like to choose a card with some of my personality in it through the words on the inside. A simple ‘Have a great day’ won’t do it for me. I’ve found that I couldn’t find a suitable card for my Dad for example. The few that were there were mixed in with the ‘like a Dad’, step-Dad and uncle cards, all had things like “to the best Dad in the world at Christmas”, considering I only see him a few times a year, it’s not quite a card that represents my feelings.
Almost all the female relations cards are pink and I don’t like pink. I know that I’ll get a few pink cards for my birthday, but what happened to the blues, greens and purples that used to brighten up the fireplace with birthday cards? Not every woman likes pink, nor is every Dad the best in the world, not every man likes sports on a card, nor is every cousin wonderful. Another thing to mention is that bestest is not a word! Cards have become less personal and more stereotypical mass market ‘one size fits all’.
I think the creation of all these new titles has been done to try to realistically reflect the change in our society, which in a way is good, can you imagine how a Mother would feel knowing her son sent a card addressed to Mum and Dad to his father and his new wife? But at the same time, with all these extra cards going on the shelves, ultimately, many have come off and I struggle to find cards that are suitable for my friends and family.