Not in the Cards

Andrea Freedman

Although I am a writer, the one thing I find most difficult to write is a greeting card. I often leave the signing of it to the very last minute. I am always relieved when I have finally done it. When it comes to composing a personal message, this is one area in particular where I experience writers’ block.

Funny enough, I have never been one to procrastinate, including when it comes to buying gifts. However, no matter how organized I think I am, signing a card is one thing that I always seem to leave until the last minute.

I can’t bring myself to just sign the darn thing, no matter how much it weighs on me. The right moment has to come for me to finally sit down and write a heartfelt message.

It seems like every time I turn around there is another occasion that calls for a card. While I am grateful that I have people in my life to send cards to, in recent years, I have cut the card giving down to only close friends and family, and often only for a milestone birthday. I have no problem calling a person on the phone and extending my good wishes verbally.

The one time in my life where I did not have any trouble writing out and mailing cards – and on an impressively timely basis if I do say so myself – was to thank people for engagement and wedding gifts when my husband and I got married.

Some might say that the card companies have done the work for us by coming up with most of what we are trying to say on a greeting card. Nonetheless, although it would be easy to write the same generic words on every card I send, I try to put a little variety or something different into each one. Especially if it is someone I send a birthday card to every year. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but I have imagined one of these people taking out the card I sent them the previous year and comparing it with the current one.

There are the standard phrases. But I feel like people I do send cards to expect more from me. I don’t want to be generic. I hope that everything I write, including something as simple as a card, sounds sincere and original. Certain people I know might even be insulted if the only thing I wrote was “Happy Birthday.” When I think about that, I know it is absurd. The person should be happy I thought to send them a card in the first place, regardless of whether or not I decide to compose a whole essay to go along with it. After all, some people simply sign their name and that’s that, and it is not preceded by the words ‘love’, ‘fondly’ or anything else.

I wonder if the recipients of the cards I send even appreciate them or the thought – not to mention the time I spend agonizing over what to write – that goes along with them. While I myself have kept many of the cards I have received over the years for sentimental reasons, there are others who have no problem tossing them right in the garbage. Personally, I still think it is a lot nicer to open the mailbox and find a card inside, rather than a bill.

With another big family birthday coming up, I spent the last few days staring at yet another card that had been waiting for my signature. I finally found the right card, which was not an easy task itself. Here I thought I got it well in advance of the occasion; all of a sudden I looked at the calendar and realized in a panic that my time had almost run out.

And then, just like all my other articles, stories and blog posts, something hit me and I knew exactly what I wanted to write on the card. It all finally came together. Just in time the card has been sealed and – most importantly – signed! All I have to do now is get around to buying a stamp. ♥



Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on April 10, 2014, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I know what you mean – for close family members it’s not a problem. Friends, yeah ok… but acquaintances and people I don’t feel particularly close to it gets harder. You can’t be too personal but it feels inadequate being generic too


  2. It’s surprising that given your talent for writing, you would have a problem signing a card with a personal message. You just have to imagine the person with a smile on their face when they have read something nice that describes the way that you feel about them. I think reading a comment from someone you love, is a real treasure. I find it easier to write my feelings down on paper than actually telling a person how I feel about them, if, they happen to be someone that would appreciate the whole scenerio. Anyway, practice makes perfect. Guess who?


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