Thursday, November 19, 2009

Londoners' obsession with sending cards - yep, those 'Season Greetings' cards

Londoners' obsession with their cards never fails to fascinate me. By cards, I mean the ones that you pop into a shop when you have nothing better to get for someone on a special occasion. Could be a birthday, anniversary, wedding, retirement - there is a card for any occasion.

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There are even cards for lesser occasions - "thinking of you" (sent only when you are anything but), "missing you" (ditto), "I'm sorry" (if it comes to that, I seriously doubt a card will help), “Congratulations on your promotion!” (that should have been mine), “Get well soon” (I can’t be doing two persons’ work all the time), “Welcome back!” (now get on with it). I could go on and on. But let's face it. You bought a card only because you have absolutely no idea what else to give and you deem the receiver only worthy of a recycled paper folded into halves with some stuff printed on it.

I was in the lift when I noticed that a colleague was carrying a Scribbler paper carrier.

"Someone's birthday coming?" I took a stab.

"Yep, I only realised my husband's birthday is tomorrow and I thought I'll just grab a card first." There you have it.

"I supposed you told him that you have a surprise for him…".

"But of course! Now I just have to think about what that'll be...". But hey, at least he's getting a card.

If you have to get a card, you can either get one of those cards filled with words and just sign off at the bottom (why reinvent the wheel?) or a blank card and go on to write an 500 word essay. Either way, please, for goodness sake, do not get a blank card and just sign it off. It reminds me of the faceless PR people sending off tons of Seasons Greetings cards to the unfortunate souls who bought something from the company a decade ago.

Anyway, the season of card sending is here again. You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief in London when Royal Mail called off the impending strike (for now). Let the cards sending begin. What joy!

Get your charity Christmas cards from Cancer UK Research here
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8 comments:

*lynne* said...

While I think the greeting card industry isn't friendly to trees, it ~is~ nice to receive cards (especially funny ones!) for birthdays or other occasions. ... this year the hubby and I will definitely be sending out a whole bunch of cards... we moved 2x in ~2 months, and kinda need to sned out end-of-year greetings which would double (or triple) as a "here's our new address!" and "here's an update on what's been going on!". ... yeah, as much as I laugh at people who include a "newsletter" in such year-end cards, I'm thinking it's the way to go for Chez Naranek this year!

FĂ«anor said...

Of course, the flip-side of sending tons of cards is that one might very likely end up receiving a ton of them. What to do with the lot? Why, make them centre-piece of decoration at home: put them all up on a dining table or a mantelpiece, so that visitors who show up will be impressed by how well one is liked. Eh? Eh?

(Which probably explains why I don't get any cards at all. Not one.)

C K said...

@lynne,
Just received one of those "happy xxth birthday" cards that I have to sign and I don't even know the person. That explains the post.

Newsletter? You mean they actually slot a mini magazine together with the greeting card? Well, that got your attention, didn't it?

C K said...

@Feanor,
Awww... come, come.. we'll send one to each other this Christmas. I see some pretty impressive ones at Clinton the other day. That'll do, wouldn't it? :)

Lady Banana said...

I send and receive cards but what a waste of money they are really, just to go in the bin a few days later!

drcrab said...

Having worked in this country for the last 6 years, I get the feeling that it's christmas time when you know who 'likes' you or who doesn't at work!! you get a bunch of cards in your pigeonhole around christmas time and that's when you keep a spare pack of christmas cards in your drawer in case you receive a card from X and you didn't put one in their pigeon hole!! lol...
think perhaps our countrymen are abit more practical and either send e-greetings or text messages. I remember when I had my wedding reception in Singapore for the Singapore contingent, I had friends who were invited and then said 'no need to send paper invite lah - you oreadi email me and i oreadi say I'm coming right?'..!! hehe...

I must admit I'm a big one for sending cards now - esp since we've had the G. it's really a good time to catch up with friends/family with whom you've not had a chance to chat with the whole year (and mind you, I do have quite a few!)... just no time lah! And yes, people will be getting a 'newsletter' (or a picto-gram of G's growing years!)...

Aidyl said...

When I happen to drop into one of the numerous card shops in London
(mostly when I dont really have anything to do...waiting for someone, just passing time..)
I'm always amazed by the huge variety of themed cards cards.
It's so different from my homecountry.
Here there are cards for literally everything...
Even cards that say "From your Dog/Cat" ....? I mean, Hello?! I never thought of buying a card that says "From your cat to a lovely owner", then signing it and giving it to myself on X-mas Day for example.... Hahaha~

C K said...

@Lady Banana,
Hmm, then why do it in the first place? I guess it has become a habit, isn't it? Much like me spending two quid on Euromillions every darn week. Oh well.

@drcrab,
I know exactly what you meant about the wedding invites. A colleague of mine back home really put some effort into the invite and sent everyone a postcard of him and his wife. It looks great and mine didn't join the rubbish heap.

That reminds me... Tesco is selling for a bunch of cards for only a quid. Hmm...

@Aidyl,
Hahaha... I can totally imagine that card. Remember an episode of Mr Bean when he send a card to himself when no one else cared to.