Service of Birthday Cards

February 26th, 2015

Categories: Birthday Cards, Greeting Cards, Humor

Greeting cards 1

I haven’t been to a card shop in a while because I buy a lot of greeting cards at Trader Joe. I like the illustrations of the artists they select, the sentiments as well—many make me smile–and the paper quality is excellent. Further, you can’t beat the price: $.99.

In addition, thanks to a wonderful present from my friend Erica Martell, I have a subscription to These e-cards are fabulous.

greeting cards 2On a recent visit to a traditional card shop with a large selection I had to pull out and read too many before finding one I could buy. I was flabbergasted by the number that celebrated how great it is to drink too much on your birthday. Is drunkenness funny? [They were in the “funny card” section.] I mentioned this to colleague David Reich and he observed that eating too much is also touted on cards. Another bunch were written for adult first graders: They peddled scatological noises.

New Yorker Card 1Maybe the cold weather has frozen my sense of humor. I love receiving and giving witty cards. I’ve found some amusing ones at stratospheric prices–$6-$8/each–without a birthday greeting that I have adapted for the purpose. I also use note cards bought at museums, but they aren’t funny, just pretty. The New Yorker cartoon cards, [photo left and below], when you can find them, are super. They are blank inside so like museum note cards, not strictly for birthdays.

None of the birthday cards at the large store evoked even half a ha. Have you noticed this about the current crop of popularly priced choices? Does nobody mail them anymore? I like to display the ones people send me or my husband. They make me happy long after the occasion is over. And you?

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15 Responses to “Service of Birthday Cards”

  1. EAM Said:


    I’m a lover of great, fun cards. And, I agree, I can spent quite a bit of time finding a LOL good card these days. Trader Joe’s has some decent ones are they’re just a $1 each. Some of the Hallmark cards have such stupid notes inside that I wonder who’s writing them and who is their target audience. When I sent out Christmas cards this year, I especially picked some from Papyrus that had a thicker stock paper and were really special. I don’t see the point if they’re just ordinary but maybe that’s me being a snob.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You are not a snob! I have always loved paper goods and miss Kate’s Paperie as it had amazing stationary, wrapping paper, ribbons, cards all at hefty prices but such fun to admire and give. I heard Kate’s went out of business because it was mismanaged. A shame.

    In Europe–Paris, Venice, Florence for example–you can still find small paper shops. Be prepared to spend a fortune or visit as though at a museum.

    The messages you refer to in the popular cards are the ones that made me slap my head and inspired this post. I don’t know anyone at any age who would appreciate receiving most of them.

  3. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna on Facebook: I love sending and receiving cards, and the ones I receive all go into scrapbooks. Most commercially available cards are lousy these days, so I tend to make my own–or, do as you do, and send interesting, pretty or witty ones from museums and the like that aren’t strictly for birthdays……

  4. EAM Said:

    By the way, I bought a card for my Mom (from my Dad) and it was $8. Again, I picked the good stuff but found the price staggeringly expensive.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t share your artistic talent though if you have a great photo of someone, their child or their pet, I bet the recipient would be happy if you glued it on a nice plain notecard which anyone could do. As for keeping all the wonderful cards I’ve received, I recently had to toss a bunch I saved for years for space reasons. Breaks my heart.

  6. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna on Facebook: Not SO artistic, Jeanne, but Publisher is a “wonderful” thing!

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Chances are that as your Dad will sign it your Mom will keep the card but still, I agree that $8 + tax is a lot.

    Sometimes I’ll buy a great card and save it until the right person/occasion comes along. If I really love the card I find it hard to part with it. When I finally send it, if I feel that the recipient doesn’t get or appreciate it as I do, I am disappointed. All silly.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You clearly are computer-brilliant.

  9. JPM Said:

    I agree entirely with you about most of the birthday cards now being sold.

    I also believe that both the tasteless and cost of most of them is reflective of the times in which we live. If “diversity” is a good thing, then, “ipso facto,” diversity in taste and pocketbook depth must be as well. You cannot have one without the other. And, of course, who dares to stand out as being judgmental?

    Incidentally, I am sure that while many of the electronic greetings may well be charming, they are time consuming to access for the technologically inept.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If you are able to post a comment on this blog then you are able to send an electronic greeting. It’s a cinch and easier to do, I think.

    As for the taste of inexpensive greetings, perhaps the paper may not be as textured or as heavy as an expensive card or the design might not be as appealing all for reasons of cost, the words can still be clever or pleasant–not copycat to promote drunkenness, overeating and bodily noises. I’m not suggesting that there be no cards with lowlife messages, just that there be some that cover other aspects of a birthday–happy and funny ones.

  11. Hank Goldman Said:

    It seems that electronic media has put a big dent in mailing of personal greetings. It’s obviously so much easier to some through selections on your smart phone or pad, then to March to a store and pick something out.

    My dear dear cousin passed away a few weeks ago, and she always remembered everyone’s birthday in the family. Not only that but she allowed for a couple of days for the mail to arrive, so people would get their cards in time. I will miss her, and her thoughtfulness, forever.

    She often sent funny cards, about getting older, and aging, and maybe some of them were lame jokes, but I always felt that it was the thought that counted.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I am sorry your dear cousin died. I didnt’ know her but I picture her giggling at the card store as she clearly found the messages to be funny. One of my uncles remembered literally thousands of lame jokes and to this day, though he’s been gone for a while, whenever I read or hear one I think of him. We call them “Uncle Robert jokes.”

    I miss the distinct handwriting on the envelopes and insides of cards from dead relatives and friends.

    The good thing about an electronic card is that you don’t have to discard it [is that a pun?]. On the other hand, you also don’t have a keepsake of a loved one who is no longer able to send their best wishes.

  13. Lucrezia Said:

    Humor, like art, styles and etc., is relative, and finding something appropriate for the recipient can be a challenge. It’s not so much what one sees as funny — I am always in for a good laugh when visiting the card section, it’s what makes the one for whom the card is intended happy which counts. The best card in the world could feature singing dogs, but one doesn’t send it to someone who hates them.

    Electronic cards are no different, but can be very cost efficient, especially if one sees a reason to send greetings on numerous occasions: A low yearly cost of $16 for unlimited action. They are also face savers — friends just returned from nearly a month in the tropics, and rather than racing out, all there was to do was sit here, summon the card company, find, send and get the brownie points!

  14. RCF Said:

    I use a web service card creation site: “Jackie Lawson.” I like her cards, funny, pretty, imaginative, personal…And I never remember people’s birthdays! Those I do remember, my sisters for example, I use Jackie Lawson for. Hallmark has not provided what I would want for many years.

  15. Jeanne Byington Said:

    RCF, is great. I love it. Some of the Hallmark licensees are good–such as Charlie Brown and his friends. I love those characters. Hallmark has done what so many before it have done—which may account for the unattractive themes they’ve chosen for the cards that I wrote about. They hope to attract a younger crowd for a product that young people aren’t interested in anymore. What happens: They turn off their bread and butter older audience and don’t succeed at reaching young people. It’s sad.

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