I love the pretty designs, but hate the waste they produce.
I’ve received and given many cards in my life, so it’s something that I’ve had some time to think about.
No matter how beautiful a card, no matter how funny or poetic the copywriting – as with people – it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
And I’m not talking about the 50 bucks from my granny. (But thanks avó!)
a monkey wrench in my minimalist works
In September, I spent quite a bit of time digitizing my paperwork. I had already purged some of the greeting cards that I had kept throughout the years, but I decided to take another (harsher) look.
I noticed that most people just sign their name or write a simple greeting. Very few people actually take the time to write something more significant. Not that an “I love you” or “best wishes” are insignificant, but I don’t need to hold onto a card for eternity to know that. I already know.
So I decided to recycle the cards that only contained these simple words. But I faced a conundrum (don’t you love that word?): What about the cards that did contain more thought? And what about the cards from my mom? (My dad wasn’t a card man.)
Minimalism philosophy would dictate that I also didn’t need these words to know how someone feels about me.
In this case, I say screw minimalism!
I’m never going to get another card from my mom. I was willing to let go of her things, but I wasn’t willing to let go of her words.
My mom spent a lot of time picking out the perfect card. She would always choose sentimental ones and fill them with loving words of her own. I used to joke with her that just once, I wanted a funny card.
My mom passed away around my birthday. I remember her partner telling me that she had put aside my birthday money, but that she hadn’t had the chance to get me a card.
I never wanted a card more in my life.
This is not to say that I’m going to hold onto cards out of fear that someone may not be with me one day. But every now and again, when I get a truly special card, I will honor it – even if it’s just in digital form.
a minimalist solution to giving greeting cards
Even though I appreciate the effort when someone gets me a card and I cherish those from my mom, I’ve never really been into giving cards. I’m actually one of those people who just writes a simple word or two.
So I try to avoid cards entirely. If I’m giving someone a gift, I’ve taken to using paper bags and writing whom it’s for decoratively on the bag.
But there are certain times when a card is necessary. Take a wedding for example. I’m pretty sure the bride and groom would be surprised if I slipped them some cash in the receiving line.
My solution? Mini cards!
In order to decrease waste, I’ve started purchasing 3 x 5 blank response cards with envelopes. You can get these in stationery shops. They come in all different colors and can normally be purchased for under a dollar. I only wish I could find ones made from recycled paper.
I then draw something on the front of the card and write a little message on the back. I enjoy drawing, so this lets me express myself while giving someone a customized card.
If you aren’t into drawing, you could use a stamp or sticker. If you have a child, they could do a drawing on the front. Just use whatever supplies you have around the house – no need for a separate craft room.
This is my solution when a card is required.
I think it goes without saying that I won’t be mailing out greeting cards with me in a reindeer sweater this holiday season. It will definitely be an e-card. ;)