For those of you considering reaching out via greeting cards — whether setting up a plan to reach out regularly on a meaningful anniversary, or becoming more spontaneous when you notice life changes around you, or even being very casual about sending greetings at random times — you may start to worry about what you might say.
If you haven’t seen part 1 yet, you’ll want to read about 12 Things I Have Learned From Greeting Cards… and Their Senders. There are expert card-senders out there, and I have learned much from them.
Once you decide to let someone know you are thinking of them with a greeting card, there can be one more obstacle to overcome: What to write inside.
I’ve seen people staring intently at greeting cards, feeling obligated to add a note but unsure of what to say, or wrestling with the idea of throwing the whole thing out because they cannot erase what they’ve just written in ink.
Of course, one option is to let the card do the talking and then just sign your name underneath. If you’ve found the perfect card, it may say exactly what you wanted to say, and all is well. However, if you’re choosing a low-cost option such as making your own card or using a blank card, you may be feeling the pressure. And after reading in 12 things I have learned (part 1) that standard greetings don’t always work (#8) and that the greetings that made my day over the years were often a single, personal sentence (#9), you may wonder if you’re going to be able to do this, after all.
You may get stuck on…
What can I say?
A simple sentiment is really all you need to figure out. Of course, a long, heartfelt message is a treasure. However, people going through hard times are tired and may not have the attention span for a lot of long messages; yours can be one of the short ones.
To get you started, I have gathered a sampling of greetings I have enjoyed over the years. Start reading them aloud to yourself. As you get into the rhythm of these short greetings, maybe you will find the inspiration you need.
I’m thinking of you ♥ Wish I was there with you ♥ Thank you for being you ♥ I’m thankful for you ♥ This made me think of you ♥ I remember the last time we spent this day together ♥ I can’t wait to see you ♥ I haven’t wanted to bother you but I am thinking about you all the time ♥ Praying for you ♥ I look forward to hearing about your journey ♥ To someone special in my life ♥ It was so nice to see you last week ♥ I so enjoyed our talk (on the phone) ♥ I am reading your online updates before anything else each day ♥ Thinking of your wonderful Shane ♥ I feel so lucky that I knew Shane ♥ I think the happy scenes on this card are the kinds of things our loved ones would want us to go on enjoying ♥ You inspire me ♥ This card says something I don’t tell you often enough ♥ It’s wonderful having a sister like you ♥ You are awesome!
(Okay, that last one was from a granddaughter.)
If you are still stuck, you can use an online search engine to look for “greeting card messages” and find hundreds more ideas to consider. Your search results will likely include ideas offered by the big greeting card companies, online printing companies, as well as websites that specialize in various events (weddings, new babies, holidays).
You can narrow down your search even further:
- Search the web for a specific need, such as “funeral greeting card messages” or even “job loss condolence messages.”
- For imaginative ideas, start your search on a creative site like Pinterest.
- For brainy messages or life inspiration, do a web search for “famous quotes.”
- For a faith message, search for “Bible verses about…” or “spiritual messages for…”
- For pre-made cards, search for “free ecards” on greeting card sites like Blue Mountain, American Greetings, and Hallmark; for a fee, they may also offer create-your-own and print-at-home options.
- Greeting card templates may already be located in some of your current software (Adobe, Microsoft Office, Brother).
If the idea that cards can be funny (#10) appeals to you, then it’s worth uncovering something that will bring a smile:
- Use funny stories and catch phrases that you have shared with your someone in the past.
- Use an interest you share with your someone and make it humorous — Elvis, Star Wars, Snoopy, old westerns, convertibles, pandas…
- Add a funny caption to a familiar photo from home or work or other places you have in common. Popular meme websites may generate ideas for unexpected captions.
- Try a web search for clean jokes, clean puns, get well humor, corny one-liners, or dad humor.
You don’t need to do it all
The goal is to explore ideas until you find what works for you. Today, we have been brainstorming. Hopefully you have found an idea or two that you might try; don’t bog yourself down by checking out every last lead.
After brainstorming and exploring a couple of leads, you can settle into a system that fits your personality and the someone(s) you tend to bless. You won’t need to brainstorm again until you run into a situation that just doesn’t fit what you’ve been doing.
Once again, the awesome part of greeting cards lies in the simple fact that others are keeping us in mind during their busy days. That is a blessing.
Blog #4 Comments: Have you found a great source of inspiration or confidence in writing greeting card messages?
3 thoughts on “12 Things I’ve Learned From Greeting Cards… and Their Senders (part 2)”
When I was keeping vigil in my mother’s final days, cards and letters that arrived from loved ones and anyone else, whether in town or far away, meant a lot to both her and me. Loving and encouraging words arrived written by others who were obviously clued in to her situation gave her a welcome focus outside herself.
I then remembered how some 25 years earlier, when she was watching out for HER father, blind and in a nursing home in his last couple of years, she and her sister (my aunt) told us who lived out of town how helpful our letters and cards were, to give them something new to talk about during their weekly visits.
A year later, I saw the same thing happen with an uncle in his final days. His cards were used to decorate the wall, and provided conversation starters with his caregivers.
In all these cases, things like CaringBridge messages also helped a lot, and the visiting caregiver(s) could print them out and bring to the bedside. But cards individually chosen and handwritten played an important role by bringing color and originality into the room where each of these dear people lived out their final days.
My point is that people who send cards to someone in a position of need are often also helping out the family caregivers and providing evidence to any professional caregivers that the person in bed had a very full and active life — and is still a unique individual with interesting ties to the outside world as evidence of that.
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I love the picture of greeting cards as conversation starters for your grandfather, who couldn’t see them but still was blessed by them. This might be a great topic for a future blog. Thank you for sharing real examples of greeting card blessings!