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Sending Traditional Birthday Cards
« on: September 24, 2012, 10:06:43 AM »
By Honor Blanco Cabie

When Chris and his brother-in-law Andy Lord mark their birthday anniversaries in October, they will receive greetings by email and facebook.com -- from family and thousands of friends they have made and are connected to them through social networks.

The inroads of technology have made sending birthday cards an otherwise onerous activity, particularly by those who have made their work environments and other places their comfort zones.

In the generation of Andy Lord’s parents, cards -- birthday, Christmas and other occasions -– received, particularly if the card had some long hand, was always a blessing that gave them muscles of emotion for years.

With cyber technology up, including the invasion of mobiles and iPods in the fast-paced human environment, sending of birthday cards by post is slowly becoming a dying – but still good – tradition, especially among Filipinos.

The younger generations – even those in pre-school years – have become too familiar with the line of portable media players created by and marketed worldwide, the product line-up consisting of the hard drive-based iPod classic, the touch screen iPod touch, the compact iPod nano and the ultra-compact iPod shuffle.

The immediate ancestors of pre-schoolers, to the amazement of some of the pre-schoolers’ grandparents, can unleash like some machine gun outburst that iPod classic models store media on an internal hard drive, while all other models use flash memory.

Chris, a government employee for nearly two decades now, will be among the few who will be receiving by post — the snail-paced system of delivery by mails in the Philippines despite – a card on his birthday on Oct. 4, exactly 18 days before Andy Lord himself marks his milestone.

Greetings by phone calls or via email and facebook.com accounts, among others in the social network system, during birthday anniversaries fly thick from whichever direction and continent, a kind of “connecting” with each other in real time.

One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said sending greetings through the social network accounts “is fast and reliable since the greetings are read on the day of the celebration itself.”

But there are those who say that ecards, most of which are customized, sent by email can easily be blocked in spam filters and will not be read by the recipient.

Sometimes, some sources say, a person can create his own greetings which carry his sentiments, using personal images and messages straight from the heart.

Some ecards can now be customized, which means the sender can change the appearance or features of the card to suit the sender’s tastes or needs – much like a photographer customizing his camera’s basic settings.

There are those who argue that a card sent by post, by family or very close friends, adds a personal touch with the hand writing and the signature to chase the writ greeting in an easily readable type and font.

And the card, in various colors and sizes and sometimes with illustrations, most likely will keep the card for life and remember the thoughts that have been post scripted.

Birthday anniversaries, remembered with the personal touch of a posted effort or a gathering of family members and near relations at normally lunch or dinner at home or elsewhere are always occasions for celebration of life.

These anniversaries become even more memorable with a personal message of kinship, friendship, joy and gratitude that the person marking the milestone has helped touch their lives in more ways than one.

And often written in long hand.

Birthday cards, like other greeting cards, are usually packaged with an envelope and come in different styles.

Book store sources say there are both mass-produced as well as handmade versions that are distributed by hundreds of large and small companies. While typically inexpensive, more elaborate cards with die-cuts or glued-on decorations may be more expensive.

These sources say Hallmark Cards and American Greetings are the largest producers of greeting cards in the world.

In Britain, it is estimated that one billion pounds are spent on greeting cards every year, with the average person sending 55 cards per year.

In the Philippines, there are cards that are imported although there are cards written and mass produced for various occasions by Filipinos, including those in state prisons for the benefit of non-government organizations and other private beneficiaries.

In western countries and increasingly in other societies, many people traditionally mail seasonally themed cards to their friends and relatives in December and during birthday celebrations, according to book store sources.

Many service businesses also send cards to their customers in this season, usually with a universally acceptable non-religious message such as "happy holidays" or "season's greetings."

Industry sources say it’s been centuries since the custom of sending greeting cards – by the ancient Chinese and the early Egyptians began the practice before the 15th century – became part of the tradition in different civilizations.

By the early 15th century, handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe while the Germans were known to have printed New Year's greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400, and handmade paper Valentines were being exchanged in various parts of Europe in the early to mid-15th century, with the oldest Valentine in existence being in the British Museum.

Fast forward that to the first quarter of the 20th century.

Technical developments like color lithography in 1930 propelled what industry sources call the manufactured greeting card industry forward. Humorous greeting cards, known as studio cards, became popular in the late 1940s and 1950s.

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CHEERS TO SOMEONE SPECIAL ON MY BIRTHDAY

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