Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not In The Cards

Cardophobia~n. the absolute fear and dislike of greeting cards and/or the selection of these cards. adj~cardophobic: having cardophobia.

I am a cardophobe.

Welcome to my admission...My rant, if you will, about my feelings on the GREETING CARD.

I am blessed to have an amazing, loving, affectionate family. I also have thoughtful, caring friends. These people in my life have an amazing ability to present, on-time, even, the perfect greeting card for every.single.occasion.

These lovely folded notes of love and gratitude find their way into my home, my mailbox, my fireplace mantle, and are lined up almost on a weekly basis, depending on who's birthday it is, who in my family is being celebrated, who might be feeling under the weather, who had their haircut, who needed a "hug across the miles."

My mom and sister are the true culprits for my illness.

My amazing mother has ALWAYS been a card giver. She usually pre-plans her month and has a stack of cards on her shelf in the kitchen, all filled out, some in envelopes, already addressed and stamped, ready to go to the recipient. (Don't even get me started on her uncanny gift-wrapping ability, that just might send me to the e.r.)

Then there is my sister, who can find the MOST perfectly worded, humorous card, sometimes "just for fun," or because "she couldn't resist," and sends it days before the actual event. The pressure that I feel to live up to the card-giving-bar is sometimes insurmountable.

This pressure had led me to, at times, forgoing the card giving altogether. And that led to what my mother says, has ruined the card-buying/giving experience for her. Well, at least when she tries to buy cards for me.

I tried for years to find the perfect cards for my parents, grandparents, sister and friends. On Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, you name it...

After years of buying cards that started...

"For my Mother, On her Birthday..."

"Today and every day..."


So not what I would really say, face to face, to tell the people that I love that...well...I love them! And I appreciate them!

But I would stand in front of the imposing card walls, going cross-eyed from reading hundreds of cards, getting lame from reaching up and bending down, getting more and more frustrated as I would finally find a decent card, but no envelope to fit. Or I realize I bought the same card the year before...Or my sister probably had...And inevitably I would have to pee, or worse, and I am left racing out of the store, irritated, sweating, and...cardless.

I'm not so mushy that I want to represent my feelings with gold, scrolled lettering with a picture of a stream in the forest at sunset...

But not so "insensitive" that I would select a card that tells someone else that THEY are the lucky ones for knowing me, or having me for a child/sister, or tell them that "although I WANTED to give them the perfect gift...blahblahblah...Here's your [bleeping] card..."



People buy these?

And yet, I have stood in mobs of people, on the Saturday before Mother or Father's Day, doing the dance of card selection, almost getting into rumbles with people who go for the same card that I want, watching some people pass through the crowd and reach over, and without even opening the thing, pluck their greeting from the millions of greetings and go on their merry way. You stand in the line of strangers, quietly reading, replacing, reading, replacing...some people sniffing with emotion, others chuckling, moving wordlessly, without direction from anyone, from section to section...feeling the pressure as the person beside you finds "the one," and proudly leaves the group of forlorn searchers...the card-dance

I mean, the whole industry is really quite a racket.

Now there are cards with music that plays when you open them.

I heard Willie Nelson.

I heard the Wiggles.

I heard bodily functions blurting upon opening some.

Some are mushy.

Some are religious.

Some are kind of funny.

None say "BUP" or "NANNY," but some say, "POPPA" or "GAGGA." If you don't call your grandmother one of these terms of endearment, you're SOL and have to settle for "Grandmother...You're The Best!" Or you have to re-design the front with a sharpie to ensure proper address...

And let's chat about the prices...

At 5 or 6 bucks a pop, If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by Mom's, Dad's and Grad's, you had better start an account to save for greeting cards alone!

This past Father's Day was one for the books...

My sister sent the.funniest.card. She sent it two weeks in advance. It would be impossible to match.

With this little gem, that had been proudly displayed for days before the actual holiday, in the back of my mind, I started on my quest for a card.

Now, anyone who knows me knows how much my dad means to me..to my whole family. I could go on and on about how much we love him. How much he does for us. Helps us. Brings happiness to us. How much we admire him...

He knows it, too.


Because I tell him so.

I tried to find a card in the grocery store.

No luck.

I knew I had to do it, and there was just one more option...


I hate to even say it out loud.

But I went in like I was going into battle.

I could feel the pressure mounting. I could hear the crowd humming like a swarm of bees around the corner..

There they were.

I promptly turned around and headed for the rest room.

Like a child forced to "pee before you go," I knew that without extra pressure, I may be able to quickly find the perfect card.

I was facing my phobia head-on.

The crowd had thinned a bit, and although the rows and rows and rows and rows were disheveled, with just a few stragglers, I felt my odds were decent...

"For My Father, With Love...Today and Always..."


"You'll Always Be My Hero..."

True, but played "Wind Beneath My Wings..."when I opened it.


"From Both of Us..."

Maybe...but that one was like, seven dollars! Plus, it had rainbows or something on it...

This was insane.

I thought about calling him and reading a few over the phone.

I finally found one, that was nice. It wasn't funny, like my sister's. It wasn't too mushy.

It had a picture of a fly-fisherman on it.


I was exhausted.

I am not out to destroy Hallmark.

I am not wishing to ruin the experience for all of you "perfect card finders."

I am simply stating my phobia.

I admire people that promptly pick and send the perfect messages.

It's not that I wouldn't spend ten dollars if I found, by chance, the perfect card.

But I have yet to find one.

What I will promise is that I will continue to tell people in my life how much I love them. How much I admire them, appreciate them. Wish them well on new jobs, wish them health. I will pick up the phone and congratulate new parents.

I am not banning the greeting card ritual, per say.

Just taking a break for a while.

Mom, Dad, Kate, Grammy and Chris~I love you. You really all are "The Wind Beneath My Wings."

My name is Kristen, and I am a cardophobe.

Thanks For Reading.



  1. You're so funny, Kristen! I know just how you feel about the "card dance". I love that you can put it into words so eloquently! :0)

  2. I don't even like getting cards. They seem like a waste to me. I never know what to do with them. I don't put cards on my mantle. I don't save them. I usually wait a day, leave it on the table so other people can see it, then throw it out. I feel like I just threw out $2.50 plus the 41 cent stamp. I'd rather they keep the $3 and call me and say, "Hey, just thinkin' of you" or spend the 41 cents on a stamp and put a real letter inside of it. Blank cards. That's the way to go. Cute but with room to write!