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"The lost Art of Greeting Card making"

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

For many people, collecting the mail is just another routine task in a busy day. But imagine leafing through the bills, advertisements, and credit-card solicitations only to find a square white envelope. Your name is handwritten on it, and there is a real postage stamp on it. Anticipation mounting, you pause and say to yourself, “Wow, someone sent me a greeting card!”

Sending a card is as nice as receiving it. In truth, for a long time I have sustained the sentiments of sending and receiving greeting cards. Like a child who believed that Santa Clause is real and then Santa turning into only a myth as we grow older, my conviction about sending greeting cards to my loved ones, also faded. Passing through the busiest days of my life as a working mother and a homemaker it was convenient to believe that my loved ones and friends no more wait for the greeting cards I send. I used to personally drive down to the Greeting card store and spend at least an hour browsing through the greeting cards to find that one card that can convey as much of my feelings for that one special person. Looking back, I realize what I now miss by sending an Ecard or a GIF card on ‘WhatsApp’.

The Golden Days of greeting cards and personal messages and legends:

The tradition of Greeting somebody is not new. It dates way back to the Sumerian Era who invented cuneiform writing. Using a blunt reed to make cuneiform (wedge shaped) impressions on tablets and sending and receiving messages. The Egyptian invented the hieroglyphics and papyrus, a paper like substance to convey their messages.

The Greeks developed long scrolls of parchment made of goat skin, which was more durable that papyrus. China stared producing more economical paper made of a variety of materials. Can greeting cards be far behind?

According to legends, St. valentine, a third-century Roman priest, performed secret marriages against the order of Emperor Claudius II. ‘The Emperor who believed that single soldiers are more likely to join the army, has Valentine arrested. Before execution on February 14, the priest sends a note to the jailer’s daughter. Signing it “From Your Valentine”. Later, Pope Gelasius authorizes February 14 to honour St. Valine as the patron saint of lovers.

By 1775s, the actual New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas cards become popular. Commercially made they feature mechanical cards, pop-ups and filigree effects.

In 1911 the famous Hall brothers is formed. They imprinted their name on their cards, which was recognised as a high-quality Valentine and Christmas Cards. Hall Brothers also launched their humorous cards along with different product lines and invented modern gift wraps.

Archies Limited is an Indian retail of greeting cards and gifts, based in New Delhi. Founded in 1979 by Anil Moolchandani, the company initially sold song books, posters and leather patches. The company's main product, greeting cards, was introduced in 1980. Cards were introduced for Indian festivals such as Diwali, Holi and Rakhi.

Archies Limited is in the business of manufacturing and selling greeting cards and other social expression products such as gifts and posters.

Despite so much commercialization of greeting cards, most of us have enjoyed making handmade greeting cards for our parents and grandparents. It definitely put a huge smile on their face and in their hearts to see some immature handwritings on these cards when we were kids.

I still have a fond memory of making a Father’s Day card and envelop, and posting it into the red post-box outside my school. Yet, I wasn’t sure that I put the address and stamp right. Praying that it actually does reach back to the address, which was my home. A surprise well planned and executed at a very young age of my life. My card actually found its way home and to my parents hearts.

Still looking forward to sending and receiving greeting cards and handmade messages…. As said about many things now, will it just be “Good Old Days”…..

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