Saturday, December 22, 2007

Greeting Cards and Relationships

Have you ever gone to the local Hallmark store to pick up a greeting card and realized that you are having a very difficult time finding one that wasn’t too intimate or loving? Maybe last year you didn’t have this problem but now things seemed to have changed. You continue to scour the card rack when all of a sudden it hits you that maybe the difficulty isn’t in the fact that the card you need doesn’t exist but in the fact that your feelings have changed for that person over the past twelve months.

A number of years ago, I realized this while looking for a card for my father. Over the years, my father and I never really bonded well and as I got older I had a more and more difficult time in selecting a card that said how great a father he was. There was also a time when I realized that my feelings had changed for a former girlfriend once I started having great difficulty in selecting a Valentines Day card for her.

The unfortunate thing about relationships is that we all too often fail to nurture them. Instead of that needed nurture, we often take them for granted and thereby slip into a state of complacency to the point that the relationship is all but dead save for the fact that they are still there merely because out of habit. At this point, the only thing that makes us aware of the problem is when we have to actually come right out and tell them that we love them. Buying a card for them is one of these times. Nothing is more awkward then standing there watching them open a card and read words that you don’t really mean.

Upon this realization, we go to the “general section” of greeting cards and buy a blank one or one that says as little as possible. Now all that does is further the obvious as you have basically told this person how you really feel by allowing them to read between the lines.

How unfortunate to be in this position in a relationship!

At this time of the Christmas Season, take the time to look at those around you and see if there is anyone in this category in your life. Before picking up a card for them, try to take the time to try to mend what has been broken between the two of you and then when things have been patched up, buy them a card from your heart. Only then, will the card be truly appreciated.

Merry Christmas!


HeiressChild said...

i so agree with you Dave. i'm a very conscientious card buyer, and i've run into this problem, but usually i end up finding the right card, even if i have to go to another store to find it.

relationships take a lot of work, whether it's a friendship, family relationship, spousal relationship--it takes effort on each person's part, and when one isn't willing to reciprocate after trying to mend what's broken, then sometimes it's just time to move on.

you always have the most interesting, thought-provoking posts. enjoy the rest of your day!


Anonymous said...

You have crystal clear thoughts and you write them out very well, you put us to think and that is good.

( Our latitude is somewhere between Fairbanks and Anchorage :)

It was nice to find your blog and your writings!

Oswegan said...

I think that the sayings in greeting cards are akward period.

I usually try to find the ones that are blank inside.

Then I can just leave it blank inside so the person I give it to knows I have no feelings whatsoever for them.


Neva said...

oswegan...too funny!
Dave,,,,thought provoking blog...thanks for the visit!

Isadora said...

Know perfectly well what you mean. I've purchased cards before that should have melted in my hand. :(

Emotional struggles are no fun as we have to face our own demons. Overcoming them are glorious victories that produce fruit for a long time.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


How sweet of you to write this post. It is true, for me at least, that I can never find exactly what I need to say. They are either far too personal or too sappy. Now, I am a love poet, but the words just seem so fake. I simply make my own now...

Lilli & Nevada said...

I also agree.

Thanks for the stop over on my blog.
By the way you said reminds you of Oregon,This was taken in Oregon. Bend were i live

kj said...

hello dave, i've come to you from my pal red mojo. you've said a mouthful here--how wise and how true!


Janice Thomson said...

Thank you Dave for the gentle and wonderful reminder to fix those things which in our lives are broken - and in this season of giving what could be a better gift than the gift of love?

K M F said...

nice post

Anonymous said...

very interesting blog you have here. wonderful post. thank you for your visit.

Moh Bakhrian Syah said...

I have been living in a tradition which is not really familiar with card and party stuff. So for me... i have not had problems with those things... :)
but anyway... i can feel what you feel at that times...

thank you for your visit Dave...

Moh Bakhrian Syah said...

I have been living in a tradition which is not really familiar with card and party stuff. So for me... i have not had problems with those things... :)
but anyway... i can feel what you feel at that times...

thank you for your visit Dave...

inspired said...

;o]Merry Christmas

Josie said...

Dave, what an interesting post. One of my family members has been unbelievably horrible to everyone in the family over the past year, and there is no way I can buy a "personal" card for this person. I had to go to the blank cards and write something bland and generic.

You get what you give, right?

Merry Christmas to you and your family.


Carol and Chris said...

I hate sending cards - a hangover from when I was little. My Mum's Christmas Card was HUGE and I was always made to sit at the dining room table and sign my name on every single one.....oooh it still makes me tremble....!!

My loved ones get cards from me at random times through the year and it's usually because I spotted one that's made me think of them so I buy it and send it. (I can't remember the last time I sent a Christmas card!!)


Monika said...

You struck a cord there!

beachgirl said...

Truer words have never been spoken.

I looked around my house last night and my daughter in law was there and my youngest sons girlfriend was there. Both are tough to take on a good day. I did have problems buying for them this year. Especially my daughter in law. But things went smooth because we all chose to get along. My youngest sons girlfriend came back early from Nepal, but she's just happy to be back in the USA and have her boyfriend around and her dog. She lives in Denver. So we can handle her for short periods of time.

I really wish my daughter in law would just choose to be less vocal in her constant dislike of our family and try to repair the damage she is causing to her marriage. We all hate to see my son so unhappy. And she's just plain being difficult. Oh how times change from year to year. We all have our theory to why this has happened this year. We're all hoping we are wrong. Time will tell.

I did call my mother in law a few months ago and ask her how she handled it with 5 daughter in laws. She said she just tried to stay out of it and tried to keep her mouth closed. But she did have her favorites. I have stayed out of it and said nothing so far. But after the Holidays, I may not be so nice. But time will tell.

Enjoy your day, and thanks for giving me a forum to vent.

Jazz said...

I'm so not into cards... Thank god actually.

I always prefer to buy a card with no text in it so I can give my own, "true" sentiments...

When I give pre-written cards, it's always a bad sign. A sign that I don't care enough to actually write my own sentiments.

Joy said...

I know what you mean. I can't seem to find the just the right one. Obviously if it's someone who's really close, then it doesn't matter how cheesy it is. This is why I think it's great to print my own cards :D

Please forgive me if my visit to you blog in the next couple of weeks will be slightly intermittent, as I am home in Manila spending some lovely time with my closest and dearest, while basking in the sun. Your visits to my blog/s, however, are much appreciated!

Norwich Daily Photo
The Goddess In You
Your Love Coach

CS said...

When that is workable, it is the better way. But I think there is money to be made in lukewarm cards - the "Well, as fathers go, I guess you could have been worse" sott of cards.

C in DC said...

Hi Dave,
First time visitor. I saw your comment on Brave Astronaut's blog.

This is a great post. There have been years when buying cards for my hubby when things could have been better. The cards definitely showed where I was in our relationship.

Also, I have a stepfather I don't really like. He became my stepfather when I was 10, and we lived in the same house until I went to college. I've endured years of trying to find cards for him, particularly father's day cards, that were appropriate. He certainly wasn't "like a father" to me.

There are relationships that you can fix and those that you can't.

c.indc at

Anonymous said...

I am writing very very few cards. Thank you for the interesting text.

Ruth said...

Wonderful post Dave, this time of the year makes all of us take a step back and think about how we feel about our love ones, and hopefully rekindle that love from before.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

I do so enjoy your blog and will continue through the New Year.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Such an interesting post! I have nearly always bought blank cards so I can write what I really want to say to each recipient. But I don't do it because the canned messages are too intimate, but because they are often too hackneyed and trite.

But what a great Litmus test for relationships you suggest.

Dave said...

You are so right Sylvia it always takes and effort of each person's part to make it work. Have a Blessed Christmas!

Hi Leenam! Thanks for your kind thoughts. Stay warm up there! :-)

Hi Oswegan! Blank cards allow us to share our true feelings... Makes it all more geuine. Take care! :-)

Neva.. Thanks for stopping by! Take care. :-)

Hi Isdaora!... I couldn't agree with you more... Overcoming emotional struggles are so very important. Thanks for visiting!

Hi Tara! Welcome back! I simply cannot imagine you needing to even go to a card store... I think that your words are far more eloquent than anything that Hallmark can throw at you. Thanks for your kind words. :-)

Lilli and Nevada... Thanks for stopping by. It was the wood chips trails that brought my memory back to Oregon. Take care. :-)

KJ... Nice to meet you. Thanks for your kind words. :-)

Hi Janice! You are most certainly correct abot the gift of love... Please have a blessed season.

K M F.. Thanks for stopping by.

Evlahos... Welcome to my blog and thanks for your kind words.

Moh Bakhrian Syah ...It's interesting how different culture greet others in such unique ways. Thaks for visiting! :-)

Hi Inspired! Merry Christmas to you as well! :-)

Hi Josie!! Good to hear from you! It IS hard, isn't it! What goes around, comes around. Have a blessed Christmas! (I will NEVER say to you... "Happy Holidays" .... ;-)

Hi Carol and Chris ... It's interesting how our childhood past can play such an influential part in our adult lives. Thanks for coming by!

Monika! Great to hear from you as always. I hope I didn't strike the cord to hard! ;-)

Hi Beachgirl! You wanna vent? Go right ahead... I will listen. Thanks for stopping by! :-) Take care of yourself.

A very profound point Jazz! I never thought of it that way before. Thanks for your input. :-)

Hi Joy... Thanks for stopping by... Enjoy your visit to Manila. :-)

Hi CS... ROFL.... ROFL.. Too funny! I remember back when Hallmark used to make hate cards... Didn't last very long though. LOL

Unfortunately C in DC, you are very right when you say that some relationships cannot be fixed. Thanks for stopping by!

Mago... Thanks for comingby once again. I haven't sent out any cards this year though I have bought some for my family.

Hi Ruth!...I agree... Christmas is the perfect time to rekindle.

Dave said...

Hi Hearts in Sanfransisco!...hackneyed and trite is so very true. Litmus test ... Now THERE's a great analogy... Wish I had thought of that myself! :-) Have a great day tomorrow! :-)

Josie Two Shoes said...

I've had this experience many times when card shopping, and I do try to find ones that are meaningful, not pathetic. I wrote a post about this some months ago too, when shopping for a Father's Day card. Some relationships will probably never be what we'd like them to be, but we can still find things to share and appreciate. Well, except in the case of my big sister... no Christmas card for her this year, and definitely coal for her stocking! :-)

Cheryl said...

Hi Dave,
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

Willard said...

Excellent post and blog.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Have a Merry Christmas/

sam said...

This is a really good post, Dave, and so honest! I can exactly relate, I have had that experience of not being able to bring myself to give a card to my father because I did not mean the nice things that it said. At his age, he is never going to change, and it is too late for him to make any useful contribution to the world, so I realise what needs to change is my attitude towards him. Thanks for the prod!!