Giving Good Gifts: The Art of a Great Card
written by Regan Roberts for Heirloom Art Co.
As part of our next installment of our Giving Good Gifts series, we are eager to share how important and versatile a card can be. One of the things we hear most often from self-conscious gift givers is "It's the thought that counts." One of the clearest ways to make sure that your intended recipient knows how much you care is to write a card that truly comes from the heart.
The “original” greeting card dates back to the ancient Chinese and early Egyptians, who sent greetings and messages through papyrus scrolls. This concept quickly formed into a full-fledged tradition, which holds a place in our lives and mailboxes today as we celebrate the many different occasions of life. I would like to introduce you to the elements of a great card.
My mother taught me the importance of a great greeting card at a young age. She kept a drawer in her desk filled with “Happy Birthday” and “Congratulations” cards neatly stacked to the top. These cards were bright and beautiful, spilling out of the drawer and into the hands of our close friends and loved ones. I remember shuffling through the cards one day in my teenage years, wondering why she never bought cards with an inscription on the inside.
Luckily for me, my mother never believed that you should let someone else say your words for you. This belief led me to write card after card (with no inscription inside) for every occasion: birthdays, holidays, thank-you notes, appreciation letters, condolences, graduation, anniversaries, and those times we wished friends to “get well soon.” I quickly learned there are average greeting cards, and there are great greeting cards. This poses the question: what sets a card apart from the rest–what makes a card great?
For starters, we have the card itself. Here at Heirloom, our card of choice is the Letterpressed Card, detailed with beautifully-crafted artwork and quotes from poets like William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. These lovely cards decorated with these beautiful words of wisdom drive you to create your own poetry on the blank inside of the card.
These Letterpressed Cards come in several different styles, covering many different occasions. Sending a message of celebration or condolence can help those in your orbit feel your genuine love and concern for them. So whether the occasion is graduation, Valentine's Day, Christmas, or your loved ones’ birthdays you'll find a match with one of these delightful cards. They also include styles that encompass the moments of everyday life that may go under-appreciated, like thanking your friend for making time for you or letting someone know they are on your mind. We believe that a card, in beauty and content, can be considered a small piece of art, worthy of keeping for generations and even framed, rather than thrown away months later.
If you consider yourself a more concise writer, I recommend our Petite Cards. Made from letter-pressed notecards, these miniature yet influential cards can touch the heart of a significant other, friend, family member, or co-worker. A simple “thank you,” “thinking of you,” or “cheers” can mean all the difference to one of our loved ones.
Personally, I am thrilled when I open a card and an extra surprise topples out. Might I suggest pairing a Petite Charm along with your greeting card? These dainty cotton paper charms come in several different styles: daisy, clover, snowflake, and heart. This delicate artwork can add another touch of sincerity to an already heartfelt message. If you really want to astonish someone, try recommend adding one of our Magic Butterflies. Simply twist the band and place it in the card so that it flies out with a bit of aplomb!
After the card, comes the message. Over the years of writing many cards of my own, I like to think I have created a foolproof algorithm for a great card. I have narrowed down the secret to greeting card success to three P’s.
The first “P” to having greeting card success is personality. Most likely, you are writing a card to a person you care deeply about. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your words, like warm sunlight seeping through a bright window. This makes the card more personable! For example, if you are the type to crack jokes, you might try including one in your card.
Begin with some sort of introduction. Something simple–no need to overdo it! Graciously state the intent of your greeting card to the receiver.
Happy Mother’s Day to the strongest woman I know! I love you, and I should tell you more often. I can’t make up for lost time, but I thought I would try my best to explain to you now.”
The second “P” for a great card is precision. Mother’s Day is approaching quickly and each year, I gift my mom a card, typically thanking her for her strength and dedication in raising four children. To avoid redundancy over the years, I have learned to be precise. I include specific moments, big or small, where I felt her love for me (especially if she has not yet realized the impact of her actions). This exactness shows the receiver of your card that you have been paying attention to the little moments in which your lives intertwine, which in turn, makes the card that much more meaningful.
Follow up with thank you’s, congratulations, or condolences (or any other purpose for your card). Don’t forget the details! Keep it specific.
“Mom, thank you for picking me up from the airport when my car broke down in Idaho. Thanks for hugging me each time you see me and for exclaiming, “I was just thinking about you!” each time I call. Thank you for writing me notes in my elementary school sack lunches. I still have a few stashed in a box in my closet.”
The last, yet no less important, “P” to writing a great greeting card is passion. What makes a greeting card better than “average” is hearing the passion in one person’s poetry to another. Write with intent, and don’t shy away from your true intentions and feelings.
Conclude with a sincere thought of love.
“I could spend the entirety of my life trying to repay everything you have done for me, but it would never be enough. You are my best friend and best example. I’m hoping this card reminds you of how much I care and value your presence in my life. I’m lucky I get to do life with you.”
As you write greeting cards to loved ones home or abroad, remember the art of a great greeting card is already within you. Simply let your love for the people surrounding you spill out of your pen and onto the paper sitting at your fingertips.
written by Regan Roberts for Heirloom Art Co.