A Valentine's Day Card Guide...

This afternoon, we had to run to Target after school and grab our Valentine's Day cards for each other. (Don't judge... who knew that a town that hasn't seen a major snow EVER would get over six inches this week??) I certainly didn't relish joining the mayhem as half of New Bern chose the perfect card for their husbands, wives, sisters, grandpas, cousins, and city council members, but there we found ourselves caught in the card aisle that smelled a little procrastination and a lot like despair.

Here's my issue with Valentine's Day cards. Most of them are extremely dumb and the ones that aren't cost around the same as a #1 combo at Chick-fil-A. Seriously, why is it that greeting card message are so awful? And really, the cards for platonic relationships are the cutest ones! It's the romantic ones that need work. 

- You've got the super corny "a poem for my husband" crowd that somehow manages to find ways to rhyme words like toilet or vacuum cleaner (why? why?). These usually include illustrations of little cartoon-like husbands and wives that are often (inexplicably) depicted by dogs, it seems. They might throw in pictures of dirty socks or crying babies for good measure and talk about "our crazy life" or something. This is like the "good ol' boy" of Valentine's Cards.

- Dirty cards. Enough said. (I could never bring myself to buy one of these- what if someone found it? And read it??- plus I'm pretty much a prude.) I don't read these unless the dirty part happens to be on the inside and then I usually (blushing and with a nervous laugh) stick it right back where it came from and hope no one saw me.  

- The novel. You know, these are usually long and thin, typed up on some type of parchment tied with a ribbon, and contain the complete works of Shakespeare or the (only slighty) abridged definition of love given in every edition of Webster's Dictionary starting with Noah W. himself. Good grief... I just can't. If reading the card takes more time than our wedding ceremony then it's too long. If there's going to be a lot of words in the card, I'd prefer to write them myself. Then I can avoid words like "our journey" and "warm" and "tender." These are the Karen Kingsbury of greeting cards.

- The cards that cost more than a new sweater. Because I'm a terrible person I think this way, "I could buy this card or I could pay less for that top I just saw in the clearance section." Honestly, though... $5 for a card? Seven dollars for a card? (I'm not making up these numbers, folks.) I mean, I think it's great that a card about "lovebirds" is adorned with the real feathers of the rarest Congo Peafowl but let's not get carried away. I'll save my seven dollars and if you really want to get artsy I can hot-glue some candles to a piece of construction paper and sing "You Light Up My Life" every time you open it.

- The awkward "everything that's gone wrong" card. You know, these (typically in the novel format) like to go down the road of the relationship and hash out all the tough times, the fights, the lonely tears, the bitter disagreements, and all the times you broke my heart but I kept coming back to you because I'm sucker... but it's okay! I love you, babe! And all the dysfunction in the world can't keep us apart. It just hurts so good. (If your relationship has been smooth sailing, this card probably refers to an ex.) So, if you're really over it, then why bring it back up? Valentine's Day doesn't seem to be the time to revisit the knock-down drag-out of '07. Chill out there, people. Then again, you probably played "Bless the Broken Road" at your wedding, didn't you? 

- This isn't really a category, but when we were dating and hadn't said I love you yet, it seemed like the only cards that DIDN'T say I love you were for teachers or 5-year-olds. Come on, card people! Don't you know there's a market of awkward dating couples who haven't said the l-word (and who don't want to be the losers to cross out love and write like instead, heaven forbid?) 

- The novelty cards. These are usually based on a show (Duck Dynasty, anyone?) or singer or something. I find it extremely ironic that there are Taylor Swift Valentine's Day cards. I mean, should there be break-up cards that come in packs of 10 for her multitude of ex-boyfriends? A lot of these play songs when opened (not the best idea to keep one in your Bible... "let's turn to... "AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUU" *frantic closing*) I think you can even pay an exorbitant amount of money to purchase a card that allows you to record your very own message using your own wonderful words. Personally I'd rather buy a seven dollar novel card than listen to myself recorded on anything, even a voicemail. That is a unique form of torture and has no place on this love-centered holiday. (My only exception to noise-making cards are Hoops and YoYo because they are the best.)

- The good ones. My favorite type of Valentine's Day card usually just says "I love you" with maybe one or two more sentences. I prefer to write in a nice wordy message myself (no surprise there) but even if I weren't a writer I wouldn't want the message to my husband to sound like it was written by the producer of a LifeTime movie (or a melodramatic seventh grader.) Like I said, though, most of the good ones cost a LOT... I mean, I'm not saying Jonathan isn't worth it but a card is, if I'm not mistaken, just paper. (It's like Father of the Bride- "A cake, Franc, is made of flour and water.") These days, though, with the cards being as STUPID as they are (especially husband cards, for whatever reason) I'm usually okay with paying a little more for a card with a card that's mostly not embarrassing.

I'm aware that there are super adorable and completely customizable card options on the internet (hello, Etsy!) and naturally some clever people can even make their own without looking like a toddler somehow clicked around in Publisher (my homemade results.) I guess I got what I deserved waiting to the last minute. But really, Greeting Card Writers for us Lazy (or Busy) People, let's set the bar a little higher, shall we? I know you can do better... just keep trying. We shouldn't really have to to choose between lame and... lamer? Should we? Love ya! Mean it! (See, short and sweet and no cartoon animals.)


P.S. If you love one or more of these types of cards then I am happy for you... it means you have a wider selection than I do! Also, no big deal if you played "Broken Road" at your wedding... It's one of my favorites. Just play along, k?


  1. I feel the same...the "good" ones are SO expensive. I'm always like..Yes!! A good one! And then flip it over and it's over $4!! Ahhh!!!

    I usually just get the Awkward family photo ones now if I'm desperate for a card. Haha!!

  2. Considering you have the V Day card selection broken up into such a detailed list, maybe you should consider getting into the greeting card industry. I mean, there's obviously SOME PEOPLE that buy them! ;)

  3. Love Hoops and YoYo and Father of the Bride. This made me laugh. My husband and I don't even exchange cards because we are seriously cheap. And they are seriously expensive!


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