Get Well Cards: Nice to Receive, Even if you’re Not Sick!

I enjoy working for a company that makes business get well cards and other types of greeting cards, but there comes a time when every person needs a break from her job. Finally, a vacation! After a year of not going anywhere except occasionally to upstate New York, I decided it was time that I kick up my heels on a sandy, warm beach in the Caribbean and forget about my work in the world of corporate greeting cards for a week. I decided it best to go at the end of winter, my least favorite season, to rejuvenate myself and try to regain that healthy glow I once had months prior. April seemed like the perfect time. Everything was planned, my vacation days were approved, and I was ready to go! But in the hullabaloo of preparation and excitement, I forgot to tell one person that I would be out of the office…an outside business vendor.

It didn’t even cross my mind that I had forgotten to mention my vacation to Holly, my off-site vendor whom I speak to almost daily on the phone, until I came home. I was rested, tanned and relaxed, trying to catch up on “real life” by going through my mail at home. I came across a few envelopes for greeting cards, which I assumed were for my upcoming birthday. We often exchange business birthday cards with our vendors so I thought the envelope with the Kansas return address contained a birthday card from Holly. Instead, when I opened the envelope I found a beautiful get well card. “A get well card? Who is sick?” I wondered to myself. I opened up the greeting card and found it was addressed to me! Normally, I’d be touched to receive get well cards from colleagues or vendors but since I wasn’t ill, I was a bit confused. The message inside the greeting card read:

Dear Janine,

I have not received any calls from you in a week, and figured you were out of the office. At first I thought you were on vacation, but knew you would’ve told me, and assumed that you were sick. I hope you feel better and are back at the office soon!

– Holly

Now what was I to do in this situation? I thought it strange to assume someone is sick, but her action of sending me a get well greeting card was really thoughtful, even if unwarranted. I was stuck. Should I play it off like I really was under the weather to save her the embarrassment? Should I be truthful and apologize for forgetting to tell her? I returned to work the following day and showed my coworkers the beautiful greeting cards I received. I thought it best to tell Holly the truth, and we both had a good laugh. The next time I take off from work, I’ll be sure to remember to notify Holly and save us both the embarrassment!

Sender of Greeting Cards (a.k.a. The Thoughtful One)

I’ve noticed that among our family and friends, we seem to acquire labels. Perhaps among your acquaintances, you can name the best cook or the trivia buff, the gullible one or the cynic, the non-stop talker or the shrinking violet, the athlete or the know-it-all. In my family and circle of friends, I am known as “the thoughtful one.” This actually was an easy reputation to acquire; I’m a habitual sender of personalized greeting cards. I’ve been like this since early childhood, when I carefully made my own cards with construction paper and crayons. Later, as a stay-at-home Mom with a budget as small as my tykes, I sometimes got pretty creative with my homemade greeting cards.

As interests and activities multiplied, social circles kept expanding. My siblings, cousins, and friends acquired spouses, children, and eventually, grandchildren. Even my children and their friends acquired children! Alas, time flew and before I knew it, I had at least two full-time jobs and a list of birthdays a mile long, which now also included business associates who had become friends. And let me tell you, when you’ve “spoiled” people by always remembering their birthdays, they won’t let you get away with suddenly “not remembering.”

I had long since converted from homemade to store bought cards but found my shopping trips for greeting cards to be too frequent. I even missed an occasional birthday or anniversary mailing; I just couldn’t find time for the card hunt! A few years ago, I found my solution and salvation. I now keep on hand a beautiful box of assorted birthday cards. At a glance to the calendar or on a moment’s notice, having this box of assorted greeting cards means that I’m always prepared to send off happy birthday greetings…without delay!

I also started keeping a stockpile of assorted greeting cards for other occasions so I’m always prompt with sympathy cards, thank you cards, anniversary cards, and get well cards. I even have a supply of blank note cards for when I just want to let someone know that I’ve been thinking of them.

No one suspects how easy and economical it is for me to be so thoughtful. But I’ve heard some lovely comments over the years: “You always remember,” “Every year I look forward to getting your beautiful birthday card,” “It wouldn’t seem like my birthday without getting your cheery card.” And there it is, with so many less complimentary titles that might have been applied to me, I have been labeled as “the thoughtful one.”

Assorted Greeting Cards: My In-Case-of-Emergency

So I went on a shopping spree the other day. As always, my intentions were to stop at the store to pick up the one thing I needed, which was a greeting card assortment box. But as any shopper knows, it is never that simple! Once you get to the store, you start looking around and seeing all these other products that you could use or that you might as well get while you’re there.

It occurred to me that I should pick up some snacks and bottles of soda for my Super Bowl party. And I also browsed the movie section and picked up a few DVDs. Now that football season is over, I’m not going to know what to do with my time on Sundays! Along with all of this other stuff that I bought without really needing, I got my box of assorted greeting cards, which I sometimes refer to as my emergency kit. Once I picked up what I was really there for, I was all set.

I like to purchase boxes of assorted greeting cards because when I look for a single card, I end up spending too much time reading through every card (as well as spending too much money). It’s also easier to have an assortment on hand instead of running to the store when I realize someone’s birthday is right around the corner. I love giving personalized greeting cards, even when I don’t know the recipient all that well. The box of assorted greeting cards that I found was perfect because it included birthday cards, sympathy cards, thank you cards, anniversary cards, and get well cards…all the cards I could possibly need in the case of an emergency (or a senior moment).

For the Love of Sending Greeting Cards

My friends will all tell you how much I love sending greeting cards. I’m the type of person who has been known to read half the cards in the store before selecting the perfect one (which is why nobody I know will go to a card store with me). I don’t just send birthday cards or Christmas cards; I love sending thinking of you cards or even “Today is Wednesday” cards. Whatever the occasion, I’ll buy cards in advance so I have them on hand when needed. Naturally, when I started working for a greeting card company, my friends laughed and said I must be in heaven now.

I am in heaven because not only are there new and beautiful cards to admire every year, I am surrounded by people who continually chat about greeting cards. “How do you like the new birthday cards?” our Creative team wonders. “Which Christmas cards are your favorites?” asks our Chief Marketing Officer. “Did you see the new assortment box?” questions a coworker. The all-things-greeting-cards atmosphere combined with the enthusiasm of our employees are surefire ways to produce a quality product that I personally love to talk about.

So when my boss asked me to write for our greeting card blog, I decided that my love of greeting cards was the perfect topic. Greeting cards are a wonderful way to connect with people, and I’ll share a tip…I save and reuse cards too. I cut up the cards with great pictures and use them as gift tags or presents. This is a terrific way to reuse a paper product, and anything friendly for the environment can’t be a bad thing.

Send Get Well Cards to Show you Care

Sending corporate get well cards has become somewhat of a tradition at my company. So when I was home sick with bronchitis for two weeks, it felt so good to receive get well cards from my co-workers. I will always remember and cherish the feeling of caring and compassion I felt when I needed it most.

After I was back to work and feeling better, I ordered some personal greeting cards to keep at home. I feel it is very important to have a handy supply of get well cards so that I can send out a personal greeting as soon as I hear about a friend or relative who is not well. Get well cards show that you have other people’s best interests at heart. These greeting cards also let your friends and loved ones know they’re missed and needed. Sometimes the reassurance of a get well message can brighten someone’s day by simply showing them that you care.

It’s fast and easy to find the perfect card when you have your own personal greeting cards at home. So many times we have good intentions and think of others when they are sick but don’t take the time to send greeting cards. Now that I have my own supply of get well cards, I feel I am always ready to send a quick note to my friends, letting them know that I miss them and I hope they get well soon.

Patriotism and Traditions

Call me old fashioned but I love to show my patriotism, which I can thank my grandfather for. Although he is mostly known around town from his beauty supply store, what most people don’t know is that my grandfather served nine proud years in the United States Navy.

No matter how you knew him, my grandfather always carried the tradition of showing his American pride, whether it was by attaching a mini American flag to his car antenna, spending time with other veterans, or mailing Patriotic Corporate Cards to his customers. I learned a lot from him, which is why I carry on a few of his traditions.

For instance, I proudly show my patriotism by flying my all-weather American flag outside my house whether rain, snow, sleet, or shine. I show my support for veterans by attending our local Memorial Day parade each year. And one of the greatest, and best-tasting, patriot traditions my entire family follows is baking an American flag cake for our 4th of July barbeque, iced with red, white, and blue frosting.

While some of these traditions may not mean a lot to others, they mean a lot to me. So I will continue to carry them on each and every year. In fact, I feel so inspired right now, I may go out and buy a mini flag for my car antenna.

Holiday Cards for the Troops

There is so much to write and say about the flurry of activity at our company for the past week. We have been excitedly working on what is the largest charitable act our company has ever embarked on. What are we up to? Well, we have decided to donate over 280,000 holiday cards for American troops serving in the combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan! 140,000 of these cards are effectively beautiful thank you cards to the troops that we are imprinting with a special message and the Soldiers Angels logo. And, the other 140,000 are cards that are blank on the inside for the troops to write home. This is a massive undertaking for us but it does just feel “right”. Everyone at our company feels good about it. The troops are human beings and they need love and caring just like the rest of us. Many of them are just young kids. We appreciate their service to our country as we know that all Americans do, regardless of being for or against the war.

Here’s a quick photo of the inside of one of the first cards produced. We’ll have to post more info on this effort soon, but we are BUSY BUSY! It always seems like no matter what we do everyone wants to wait to order their business Christmas cards and corporate holiday cards at the last minute. No one ever really seems to understand that with personalization, Thanksgiving is getting pretty late(!) to order.

Well…actually it looks like photo uploading isn’t working right now for the greeting cards blog…So, here is a link for now and better info/photos of the cards will follow:

And the blank card for troops to write home on will be this one:

P.S. – Soliders’ Angels is a good organization. Their founder was recently honored by Microsoft and the USO. Her name is Patti Patton-Bader. Here’s info on the honor that was recently bestowed upon Patti:

Optimism, Joy, Hope, Capitalism, and Christmas Cards

Well I just need to move right on with my business here and complete the work of another blog posting. I need a little pick-me-up-optimism after that last post. So, where do I see optimism, joy, and hope? I see it everywhere in life and in business and especially in capitalism. Our great American corporate culture of business innovation, capital markets, and public investment is inspirational when you look at it all with the right perspective. Oddly enough, a place where I draw great strength and optimism a lot lately has been in the news. I haven’t read much of the coverage. I haven’t really been taking journalism too seriously for the past few years. But, it was hard not to notice the Wall Street Journal article touting business men and women drawing strength and rationalization for corporate behavior from Ayn Rand’s writings. Yes, I gather strength and a certain rationalization from her writings. Especially the approximately 32 page long section of Ayn Rand’s book, The Fountainhead, which I sometimes reference to business colleagues. I find it immeasurably helpful in business, in life, and in corporate affairs at my Christmas Card company. I will attempt to paraphrase it ever so briefly and concisely:

The protagonist, architect corporate businessman Howard Roark, is wary of business clients and their inflated corporate egos. He is feeling a bit beaten down and comes to a turning point in his career and his profession. He, if I recall correctly, is depressed. He is feeling downtrodden and oppressed by the amazing business world and corporate achievements of the “world” represented in towering glass and steel buildings. He gazes skyward and wonders how and where he will make his impression on this world. He feels a futility as he is gazing upwards at the towering structures of corporate America. What business does he have thinking he could ever be in the company of the great architects and working men that had labored to create the amazing skyscrapers he stood beneath? Towering structures of steel and glass loom over him, belittling him. But then, suddenly, revelation comes to Howard. His perspective shifts his paradigm of the world, its businesses, corporations, and monument changes. He is enlightened. He suddenly sees all of mans’ accomplishments as a legacy, as a communal continuum of excellence and achievement. He sees his work in a new light. His legacy is to add to the amazing achievement in whatever small way. His perspective is shifted from one of jealously, belittlement, and comparison of his to theirs to a perspective of inclusion, ownership, and pride in their accomplishments as his and ours. He suddenly gains a beautiful appreciation and admiration instead of an oppressed feeling of smallness and irrelevance.

Ayn Rand’s writings have long been misinterpreted bent and twisted. In fact, back in her day she was accused of being a socialist. Her theories of “Objectivism” do have a twinge of communal versus individual. But there is real power in these pages I refer to in The Fountainhead. I will make it my business when I get off of this airplane to find the passage and update this post. I will have to make it my business to reread that section. I wonder how accurate my recollection is? I wonder what the law is about copywrite? If I want to contact the company that published this book will the Corporation’s lawyers let me post an excerpt? I’d think it would help their business to let people like me tout passages in this manner? I wonder if all of the publishing companies “company lawyers” react the same way?

I think I might have to make it my business to write some more about Ayn Rand and do more justice to her beliefs and how they fit in the company of Corporate America and Capitalism. It’s a topic I enjoy and I think you might want to make it your business to come back and read some more and share your opinions and comments with me.

Until next time,
A much cheerier traveling guy

Personal Greeting Cards: Why technology and keepsakes don’t mix

If you would have told me even ten years ago that I’d do most of my correspondence via my computer, I wouldn’t have believed you. First of all, as a sophomore in college, I hadn’t yet purchased my own computer (although I was spending plenty of time in the computer labs, working my way through this new-fangled thing called the Internet!). Secondly, I was a proud pen paller, writing friends all over the country and all over the world.

Suddenly, stationery and stamps went the way of horse and buggy. I was getting emails from my pen pal in Norway and instant messages from my best friend in Michigan. Flash forward a decade, and now I’m looking to increase my monthly text messaging plan on my phone. While I love all the things technology has resulted in, I’m not so crazy about the immediacy and disposability of these new and wide-used ways of communication.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like the feel of an envelope in my hand and the sound of paper ripping as I open it to see what’s inside. I’m much more likely to remember a card you sent me – for any occasion – than one of a string of emails you sent me last week just to chat. Better yet, I can pull it out a month from now, a year from now, or even ten years for now to reminisce. Who saves their email that long? Who has the time to sift through an inbox?

When I was considering living on campus my first semester in college, my father gave me a greeting card. Not a man of many words, he’d picked a blank, all-purpose card and copied down lyrics to a song that conveyed how he was feeling. As he handed me the card, he gave me a hug and I could see tears in his eyes.

Try conveying that via an electronic message.