When was the last time you bought a greeting card? Like, in a store. One you had to go to a store for, select, pay for at checkout, write on, stamp, find an actual mailbox, and mail? I can't recall a recent time, either. Sad, but true. I recently read that Millennials are now the #1 buyers of greeting cards. I guess they deserve credit for the 6.5 billion greeting cards the Greeting Card Association says are still being purchased each year.
I feel guilty my generation isn't doing our part to keep greeting cards going. Maybe i'm more attached to them than most. After all, my grandmother did own a Hallmark Store while I was growing up. I spent hours hanging out there, sorting cards, helping with inventory, wandering the aisles moving my favorites around and watching customers carefully consider their choices. They looked so satisfied - or relieved - after picking the "right" one!
Sometimes, i'd even proudly direct them to the area of the aisle they were looking for: a daughter's birthday, Father's Day, a new baby.
Already writing at eleven, I even thought about being a Greeting Card Writer when I grew up, like this guy.
Facebook can't replace greeting cards. I have cards from the Eighties buried in my nightstand drawer, memories of times and people who have gone away. I have their messages, recognize their handwriting, and can pull them out and freshen my memory of who they were, when they gave me the cards - who I was then. It's something to hold in my hand, and even if it's the same words of "Happy birthday" you see on Facebook, at least it's in the wisher's writing, and you can tell even more by how they signed it, i.e. "Love..."
Greeting card sales are still stable, but Generation X should make sure they don't decline. That would just be another great tangible thing the world says goodbye to, like notes passed between classes, and sticker collections.
I'll start. My younger son's birthday is in three days. I'm headed to CVS to buy him a card, one that I hope he'll save somewhere and find years from now, and remember the year he turned 14.