Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Greetings - beyond Hallmark

What do you do with the cards you get on the holidays or special occasions? How many cards or notes have you gotten over the years - and how do you decide which ones you keep? How many trees have been killed in order to tell you hi, get well, thinking of you, congratulations and best wishes?

I started thinking about this when my husband got two notes within the same week that meant a lot to him. At this stage in his career, confirmation about his ideas and thoughts tend to give him energy and a zest for what he does. He is passionate about community development and neighborhood revitalization, and he translates ideas into actions and plans. 12 years ago a note would not have mattered.

As we got ready for a yard sale recently, I found the cards my co-workers gave to me when I decided to stay home with my first child. It was an easy decision but hard to put into practice - those challenges remain as we try to balance raising a family with professional and financial obligations. It was clear to me that I kept the cards at the time to remind me about my choice and my professional life - sometimes those days seem so far behind. I'm deciding if I'll put them in a scrapbook ,just keep an envelope or release them because our lives are so different now.

I interviewed for Hallmark so I have a lingering fascination with the company. I have fond memories of how they treated their candidates and I'm still aware that the Hallmark brand is one that cherishes things that I find important. The most important lesson for me is that encouragement is so powerful. There are times when I send cards, notes, letters and the like - and wonder if they really matter at all. Then there are other times that people share how powerful a simple gesture was or they let me know that my card is one that they have kept over the years. My cousin Carolyn used to keep my Christmas cards and I always remember wanting to make sure hers arrived on time, because she actually read it and cared. The power of personal touch!

I love email for its quick nature, but I'm not really saving those exchanges as keepsakes. I have cards from my mothers friends, my great grandmother, family members that are no longer with us, friends who have been so important to my life - I have a boat load of physical memories that last longer than the motivation behind the card. I hope in the environment of the everyday "hit send" messages, text messages, and phones on our hips - we don't lose the basic art of touching lives - with keepsakes that last in combination with the way we communicate today.

1 comment:

Angeline said...

This is neat...I recently went through a major overhaul of books, papers, keepsakes and the like. As I was going through these things, I came across a number of cards, journals, notes etc....And I too pondered what to keep or toss. I have a tendency to keep all cards and notes. They do serve as a reminder and a source of encouragement. And I want to say "thank you" to you. Because I specifically came each of your notes, cards and journals that were sent. And I paused at each one in rememberence of the encouragement it gave me (and this was before the phone call!). So, never think that your tokens into the lives around you don't grow...they do...for years...(mind you...one of the notes is from my wedding shower and the the journal was part of the wedding gift...yes, that long!)