"At Christmas I no more desire a rose Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows."

Greetings cards

Started by The Mollusk, November 24, 2021, 01:38:33 PM

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The Mollusk

Empty gesture bullshit. Imagine giving a fuck about receiving or sending cards.

My dad and I have a fractious and flaky relationship at the best of times but for some reason he gets in a serious tizzy about my complete unarsed attitude to cards. I love spending time with people for their birthdays if they want to celebrate it, but at the very least I'll drop them a message and, especially with my close family who live a couple hundred miles away, I'll ask if they fancy a video call.

What's a better gift from your son: a shitty bit of litter with a picture of some champagne on it, or a heartfelt call asking how you're doing, what you've got planned for the day, and actually vocally wishing them a happy birthday? To my dad - legitimately, as that's what he's just messaged me to tell me - it is the former.

Arguably with more distant family and friends the gesture of sending a message is enough, it doesn't warrant a card. It's exactly the fucking same minus the expense and the forced irony/triteness of whatever tawdry bollocks is printed on the card. This is one of the only things that remains good about social media. "HBD!" Scroll through the deluge, click "like", forget about it forever, do your bit for deforestation (only joking about that bit, as if it makes a difference lol).

How self-important are you that you need to have all your little paper trophies lined up on the mantle? There they are look, that's literally the only real true signifier in this world that anyone cares a fuck about me. Condense your good intentions into less than three platitudes, one of which was already printed on it for you. Validate me in this way and this way alone.


If on my birthday I don't receive a card from my cats I do get seriously pissed off, to be honest.


Quote from: The Mollusk on November 24, 2021, 01:38:33 PMWhat's a better gift from your son: a shitty bit of litter with a picture of some champagne on it, or a heartfelt call asking how you're doing, what you've got planned for the day, and actually vocally wishing them a happy birthday?

I get your point about the pointlessness of cards but you could still do both, it doesn't have to be one thing or the other. Maybe he thought you'd ring him anyway so the card would be like an extra birthday gesture. Parent logic. For my birthday last year a few weeks into the first lockdown my Mum ventured onto one of those sites that posts cards that the sender never even sees, Moonpig or similar, and I received three identical cards with no writing inside, separate from the envelopes which also had nothing written on them. I think it was probably my Mum's error but whatever happened it was hilarious. 


I get it, but it isn't about what you think makes sense. We're talking about individual sensibilities. It's about working out what makes other people happy.

Personally if I knew someone who would be placated by receiving a greetings card now and then it's a damn sight easier than many of the alternative demands or expectations they could have of me.

Some people get worked up and turn big dates into a kind of loyalty test. They suspect you aren't arsed then work themselves up into a bother when you fall short. My mum gets on edge around her birthday as its so close to Christmas. Her entire life of birthdays have been a sort of afterthought after Christmas has been and gone, and the New Year hasn't yet arrived. We have to make really clear we know its her birthday and try to make it special otherwise she can sabotage weeks afterwards getting upset about it.

Sometimes when you want moral support you can get fixated on what form you think that should take. It can become a one way ticket to glumville.


Edit: This was more obviously funny in my head

The Mollusk

Quote from: icehaven on November 24, 2021, 01:55:42 PMParent logic.


@shoulders You're right. In this specific instance sadly it's just another chapter in the saga of my dad and I not seeing eye to eye. I will apologise to him about this, I'm actually dreadful at remembering to send cards since even if birthdays are written on my physical calendar I have forgotten about them the second I look away from the bloody thing. Need to set reminders on my phone for a week in advance or something.

Anyway I made this thread too much about myself. I do still think broadly speaking cards are fucking stupid. What's the most acceptable use for a greetings card? I reckon sympathy cards. That's an instance where you don't want to be bombarded by people and actually receiving a very simple message and just knowing people are there for you if you need them in your own time can be very meaningful.

Christmas cards however, worst of the lot. Never ending cycle of piss.


Quote from: The Mollusk on November 24, 2021, 02:23:17 PMWhat's the most acceptable use for a greetings card?

Congratulations - you've got a son

The Mollusk

November 24, 2021, 02:32:55 PM #7 Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 02:49:47 PM by The Mollusk
Tryna tell me you don't know this guy Clinton - but you're out here writin' his cards?

Blinder Data

I'm afraid you're asking the wrong person. I love sending cards. I write them with a fountain pen and put on a special stamp. I often get a text message from the recipient thanking me (presumably because no one sends cards anymore).

Obviously I'm not an expert on the relationship between you and your dad, but have you ever heard of love languages? It sounds like you and your dad have different ones:

Quote from:
  • words of affirmation
  • quality time
  • giving gifts
  • acts of service
  • physical touch

The things that you love doing for people (e.g. quality time) tend to be the ones that you love people doing for you. But for other people, they don't like to receive "love" like that at all. That's not a criticism by the way, it's just how we are.

It's a bit of a pseudoscience but I've found it helpful as a way of working out the best "gift" for someone or why someone has reacted differently to my expectations when I express "love".



I've got myself into hot water by not recognising the importance of certain things which appear to me to be a barrel load of wank, but which have great significance for others.  Greetings cards are a good example but I went further and assumed sensitivities around remembering birthdays were daft simply because I wasn't interested in my own.  Unfortunately not everyone is like me, so I now humour those cockroaches and send a card.

or see it from the other person's pov for a bit and think 'fair enough'


The Five Love Languages

'Off Tesco want owt'
'Knowing when to fuck off'
'Staring at you across the room'

Butchers Blind

I don't bother with them. If I like the person enough I'll give them a call.


Quote from: The Mollusk on November 24, 2021, 02:23:17 PMWhat's the most acceptable use for a greetings card?

Paper aeroplane.


I miss receiving birthday cards featuring a racing car or fighter plane or similar. Last birthday I got one, 28 58 I was. Also handmade ones with a collage of all my special woodland friends cut out from G2, which ceased when I stopped buying the Guardian.


I straddle both camps really. Agree it's completely unreasonable for someone to get arsey because you didn't send them an arbitrarily chosen bit of tree (and faff about with buying stamps - Christ, the amount of times I've upended my entire bookshelf trying to remember where I put them whenever a birthday or event rolls around, then ending up buying new ones in a rush - I must have a million dog-eared half-empty books of stamps tucked inside various books and floating in jacket pockets around the place).

At the same time, I can see their value as a way of saying you've taken the time to think about someone. When my brother's partner's (who I completely get on with and really care about, but am not incredibly close to) dad died quite recently, I sent a card rather than texting her (as I'm sure her phone was probably blowing up anyway) and it was basically just a way of saying "I know nothing I say or do will make this better, but I'm just really really sorry and I hope you're doing OK", no obligation to text back or respond at all. It wasn't even a "sympathy" card, just a nice nature design from a local shop. Similarly during lockdown it was quite nice sending people shit in the post in lieu of being able to see them - sent a few covid-ridden mates Get Well Soon cards which I think they appreciated.

I think finding a decent card is half the struggle. For a female adult birthday the traditional options are basically LOL PROSECCO AMIRIGHT! or twee pictures of flapper style women and handbags with For a beautiful birthday princess or something, while for men it's knob jokes or quaint oil paintings of cricket bats and tankards of ale. (Which makes card buying for my sport-hating, recovering alcoholic dad something of a challenge.) Obviously there are other options but I hate how it reinforces not only gender and age stereotypes but also that sort of awkward forced show of affection - "Oh shit, it's the annual reminder that this person I share plasma with exists. What do they like? I dunno, what are people like them into?".

Anyway, this thread has reminded me that it was the birthday of one of my best friends yesterday and I haven't acknowledged it at all yet, so I'm off to grovel pointlessly.