Where to find greeting cards that aren’t sappy, cliché or otherwise boring

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Photo: lentamart (Shutterstock)

Some families are greeting card families, meaning when an occasion arises, whether it’s annual (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) or a milestone (graduation, wedding, new home, etc.), cards flood the mailbox. As part of a greeting card family, I appreciate receiving mail that lets me know that a loved one is thinking of me, celebrating with me, or sympathizing with me. As someone who buys a lot of cards to reciprocate, I find the selection at most stores to be missing.

How to Find Greeting Cards You Really Love

Overall, I find most pharmacy greeting cards fall into one of the following categories:

  • Too sappy or sentimental to the point that my 11 year old son would label it “squeaks”
  • So abrupt it’s borderline rude
  • Desperate to be funny
  • Overflowing with cliché

I dreamed of cards with a sentiment that falls somewhere between “Oh, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom” ​​and “Since I was born, you were everything to me…”

Also, fart jokes in person can be funny; fart jokes on a greeting card are never funny.

And guess what? Not all dads fish. Not all dads hog the TV remote.

At this point, I once bought my dad the same Father’s Day card three years in a row because it was the only one I liked at my local Walgreens. I guess I could have shopped elsewhere, but I didn’t expect to stand in front of the exact same selection every year. Also, every other pharmacy or grocery store I tried told the same story: dry, abrupt, desperate, or clichéd.

And then one day, a friend was going through something that I knew deserved more recognition and empathy than the sappy, abrupt, desperate, or cliché could ever convey. So I logged onto Etsy, and found this card:

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And suddenly…buying cards felt less like a regular chore and more like an excuse to browse Etsy, which I find excuses to do anyway. I love supporting artists and small businesses online; I like to find more personalized messages; and I love the quality of every card I’ve purchased.

Where to find the best greeting cards online

To show you what’s possible, here’s a sample of my recent card purchases:

  • This birthday card for my Costco loving sister-in-law“One minute you’re young and cool, the next you’re Google the best vacuum cleaners of 2022.”
  • This birthday card for a dear friend“You laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You jump off a cliff, I scream, ‘Do a flip!'”
  • This cute card for my son’s teacher: “You are an incredible teacher. A teacher who cares, inspires and brings out the best in your students…”
  • This 40th birthday card for a homie which said poignantly, “Your thirties; So yesterday.”
  • Apparently I like to use the f-word when I’m really trying to convey the seriousness of an experience, because I sent a version of this”Adoption. Fact. Fucking. To finish.card to a friend after her foster daughter’s adoption was finalized after many years and numerous legal delays due to COVID.
  • Or maybe I just like swearing in general, because I sent this card to a new mom right after she gave birth: “You are a badass.”
  • I know this fish-themed “Holy Carp”; it’s your birthday card”, Seems to go against everything I’ve said about bad jokes and cliches, except it was for my brother-in-law, who’s a fisheries research biologist, and most importantly, I knew he would like the artistic rendering on the front. These things are so individual, and that’s quite the point.
  • To prove that I’m not all swear words and dirty tricks, here’s the Mother’s Day card I selected for my mother-in-law this year: She says, “No one teaches you more about love than your mother“, of which she will be able to honor a sentence that she has often said:” Nobody loves you like your mom.

I don’t know only buy greeting cards on Etsy, I also search the shops of other individual artists. One in particular that I like is gray day studio (there “I’m ridiculously excited for your birthday!” the map is one to still have on hand).

While writing this, I remembered that I hadn’t sent a “congratulations” card to a friend who just signed with a literary agent to sell her novel; so now she gets this”This is next level shit” card. Because, get an agent is next level shit.

How to Get the Best Deals When Buying Greeting Cards Online

Yes, you are likely to pay a bit more for these cards, especially if you buy them individually without planning ahead. For example, “This. Fucking. Suck.” costs $6.50, plus shipping (which costs $1 to my house). But I can easily spend $5.99 on one sappy card at Walgreens, so if I’m in a hurry and really need just one specific card for an occasion, I’m willing to eat that extra $1.50 to get one I like.

I try to be more strategic than that when I can. If I’m going to pay $5 or $6 per card, but get free shipping if I spend a certain amount, I’ll still see if I can stock more cards from the same store for future occasions. When in doubt, it never hurts to have a cute thank you card like this at your fingertips (or buy a varied pack, if offered); you’ll save on shipping, support the small business owner, and save yourself a last-minute trip to Walgreens (I don’t know why I pick on Walgreens so much).

Or just adopt the all cheap

If the cost of buying greeting cards online is too ridiculous or extravagant for you to even consider, I hear you (and I have been you). But if you’re still part of a greeting card family, you know that doesn’t excuse you from sending cards. If you’re on a tight budget, my best advice is to skip the tired, overpriced drugstore cards and head straight to your local dollar store., where you can often score two for a dollar. They’re mostly abrupt, but at least you’ve done your homework.

(Or just send your dad the same card every year for as long as you both can stomach it. That’s pretty funny.)

Mika R. Pyle