Letters over Cards 

Have you ever opened a birthday card, pen poised, and completely blanked on what to write to the celebrant? 

I blank every single time, even if it’s for a half-second.  

My hesitation to writing cards comes from my hesitation of reading them. 

When I was little, at birthday parties, little kids would read their cards in front of their friends, opening gifts and giving all of their thank yous at once. I found this awfully awkward, because I strongly dislike and am unskilled at faking love for gifts. 

I would get a weird feeling in my stomach and this fake grin that made me want to throw up (almost), because it felt like the words were written to prompt a confirmation of the relationship, and not simply to mean what they meant. 

Thankfully, this tradition faded out quickly as I grew, so I’ve now tried to make cards more enjoyable. It took a few years, but I eventually found that all the essential, positive parts of a birthday card could be found in a letter. 

What do you like to read/write in a birthday card? What’s a birthday card you’ll keep your whole life?

I love reading people’s words when they voluntarily put them down and send them to me, not just regurgitated them from whatever English teacher commanded them to. It means the words are more likely to be sincere, thought out and believed in. This in turn means I’m interacting someone’s actual thoughts and their mind, not something they half-concocted and learned from research alone to check a box, no matter the delight found there. I love it. Truly.

I like writing letters that are lowkey and no-pressure, just like I’m verbally talking to the recipient. Almost like this… but not really. 

Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words. 

1 John 3:18, God’s Word

Writing a letter is an action, one that takes a notable investment of time, and the results often come across as more sincere. I believe this is because they are meant to be read only by the recipients, wherever they choose (i.e. for me, never a public gathering). 

Especially when it comes to birthday gifts and cards. It is my personal belief that my reaction is private, and you as a friend will hopefully trust me enough to believe I will appreciate your words and gifts appropriately. 

So, if you want to… 

Send me a kind letter! Send me a polite comment! An email! Anything kind your teacher did not command you to send! 

Do you like getting long messages in birthday cards? Would you prefer a letter? Have you ever written a letter, and if so, how many do you think in your life (emails do not count)? 

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