One year for his birthday, I got my brother a gift card. And instead of putting the gift card in a birthday card and envelope, I wrote a quick message on a sticky note and stuck it on the gift card.
My father was, for lack of a better word, shook. “What do you mean you’re not using a card? It costs a dollar! Why are you like this? This isn’t classy! You’re not normal!”
But after I gave the gift card to my brother, my father asked if he cared that I deprived him of a birthday card. My brother said no. I knew he wouldn’t care.
Birthday cards given directly to the person in person are dumb. You pay money for a mass-produced card with a cheesy joke and then write something along the lines of “Happy Birthday! Have a great day!” and now the receiver gets to hold on to that for a while until they realize it just collects dust and they don’t read it so they throw it out. So why not just use a sticky note if that’s all the card is for? Tradition be damned, ya know? My family isn’t the sappy kind, so the cards we exchange aren’t usually full of anything meaningful, and even if there is a cute paragraph of some sort from Mom, it’s not something that I feel a need to hold on to for years and years. I cleaned out my room a few weeks ago and tossed a whole bunch of cards from years ago. Guilt stopped me from doing it soon after I got them.
And I’m not saying all birthday cards are worthless and heartless. For years I’ve made my own goofy cards for friends and I wrote novels in those things. I know my best friend kept them all and has several pinned up to a corkboard in her room. And I did keep some cards too, even some from people I don’t even talk to anymore. Cards made and filled with love like those should be kept (maybe not forever, but for a while). But ones that just contain a line or two of traditional birthday wishes are just unnecessary.
I understand that giving a card on a birthday is the norm, but why is deviating from it is seen as absolute blasphemy? How dare I? People (my father) need to calm down and realize that I’m not out to offend and ruin birthdays. I’m just thinking realistically. I knew my brother wouldn’t miss a card, so I didn’t give him one. And I wouldn’t miss a card either.
Basically, the only cards that should be given are really really fun ones like these. Olive amused herself for a whole weekend with this: