The Birthday Card Pledge


OHAH - The Column / Friday, February 8th, 2019

If budget airlines allowed you to collect air miles, our littlest lady would already be due an upgrade at the grand age of two. With our frequent visits to my childhood home in Germany, she’s got more than 20 flights under her belt already. Christmas two years ago she acquired four flights alone!

We were spending the festive days with my parents, when my mother decided on a whim to fly us all some 500 km West for a day to visit her brother, who was celebrating his 60th birthday that Boxing Day. It might seem manic flying five adults and a baby across the country for a mere one night stay, but the look on my uncle’s face when he opened the door on his Birthday morning was absolutely priceless.

While pondering these past few weeks over the practical ways on how I want to manifest my guiding word for 2019, I’ve found myself going back to this memory a lot. 
I chose to engage ‘Deep’ with this year, with one resolution in particular: to deepen my relationships with the people I love and cherish in my life. My father’s recent death served as a stark reminder not to let the everyday get in the way of connecting with our nearest and dearest! So with my uncle’s priceless facial expression on my mind, I decided to make an extra special effort in honouring peoples’ birthdays this year!



This might not seem like a big pledge, but I’ve been known to forget my own mother’s special day! Really not making good use of these annual opportunities to show my love and care. 
And before anyone argues that in times of facebook and social media there isn’t such thing as a forgotten birthday anymore. Well, I was born a decade before the digital natives and dare I say feel to old for these kind of diluted half-hearted messages. Especially when it comes to my close family and friends. Also my mum is not on Facebook.
If I’m that crunched for time I’d rather write a text message, but really my pledge here is to write a card and make that phone call (can’t always hop on an aeroplane either, can I).

Now the call might not need more than a note in my diary to happen; but aiming to write cards to every birthday boy and girl that I know, creates several real life hurdles for me: I need to buy a card, write the card, have enough postage around or opportunities to purchase them and lastly send the card – on time no less!
In anticipation, I’ve decided to beat the odds by A. creating a little birthday card organiser filled with cards, stamps and a list of birthdays and B. carving some time out of our rhythm to sit down and actually write the cards. Every week I have a review session scheduled to do our finances for the week, check my diary is up to date and plan the upcoming week. I’m very protective of these sessions, always making sure they happen as they really determine at times how well our weeks flow. In this season it’s Friday nap times and this year I’ve attached some batch writing to these session at least once a month. It means I might get to do finances only twice monthly, as I don’t just want things to stack up on my to-do-list, but I think it’s worth it.
While I can’t include hugs during batch writing, I’ll make sure they are on offer whenever personal delivery is possible.


Footnotes

As I said I created a birthday card organiser especially for the occasions and the first two months were filled with a mixture of handmade cards and high street purchases. If you’ve never spent an hour in a card shop perusing the aisles and cracking yourself up about the wit and/or cheesiness of some of the designs, I highly recommend you do. I’ve laughed tears before in Paperchase!
However, it’s also nice to double up the love-giving by not only writing cards but by shopping them at independent designers and small businesses whenever possible.

Below are some of the small (UK based) online shops I’ve ear-marked for future purchases:

Katie Housley
We Are Stardust
Wildflower Illustration Company (I’m eyeing up their Paper Club in particular!)
Dick Vincent
Raahat Kaduji

One thought on “The Birthday Card Pledge

  1. I really like this. For several years we stopped sending Christmas cards and sent digital birthday cards in the name of being green but it’s not the same. I’ve just had my birthday, the first without my Mum, and I really appreciated the little hand written notes inside a card. My son loves to draw and we make cards and it’s something I hope we always continue to do. People really do appreciate the love and care that goes into sending a card.

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