Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

24 September, 2010

Fair trade greetings

I’m all for a bit of ethical trading. I like the warm, cosy glow of self-rightousness when I dunk my digestive into some fair trade coffee or bite into a piece of fruit from a farm collective.

For an industry that buys in so much product from the Far East, we haven’t seen much in the way of ethical product in greetings yet. That might be about to change with these fair trade designs from Thinking Gifts. The cards are hand-made by local craftspeople from Mauritius and Bangladesh and feature either real pressed flowers or handwoven fabric.

Not only are the cards a great product in heir own right but they are bang on trend for all things eco and ethical.

Editor's favourite

One of my favourite finds at Home and Gift, Harrogate was a great range of Christmas cards from German publisher, Artebene.

The use of die-cut wood veneers was a particularly warm, tactile element but when complemented by either emboss or flitter added up to a sensational piece of design. The Germans love their Christmas and these cards reminded me of December trips to the famous Berlin markets, sipping gluwein and listening to oompah bands.

You can get in touch with Artebene UK on 0208 655 8471

Send, send, send!

Something is happening to me.

I’m sending more cards than I ever did before. I guess the job’s getting to me and instead of simply counting off the necessary occasions that require a card to be sent – family birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day etc - I’m actually making an effort to increase my personal send.
It helps that I’ve got a lot of product in the office to choose from but, hey, I still have to lick the envelope and buy the stamp!

I’ve even set my iPhone up with a Birthdays calendar that emails me an alert two days before each important date so I can get something in the post.

My wife has noticed the change too. She has an extended family in the north with an ever-growing host of cousins, nephews and nieces, which until recently we’d given up keeping track of.
“If you send a card to one of them, you’ll have to send cards to all of them,” the wife intoned, before adding a chilling: “Good luck with that.”

“This is supposed to be your job,” I retorted, knowing full well that I’m secretly enjoying the responsibility.

Well the new me is not so easily put off. At a recent family gathering I dutifully recorded everyone’s details and have started sending cards whenever that little alarm email arrives in my inbox.
It’s amazing the response we’ve got. The kids love getting their cards and the little messages inside and the parents are pleased as punch too.

My friends too are wondering why they’re suddenly getting birthday cards from me after years of casual indifference. My male mates particularly are a bit taken aback because it’s not something a bloke is supposed to do. 

But you know what, they are enjoying getting a card that’s been carefully chosen and carrying a suitable message – even if it is something from Dean Morris. The net effect is that suddenly there are more cards whizzing back and forth as birthdays and special events come and go.
Where will it all end?

Well, I’ve even started sending thank you notes following events we’ve been invited to or anniversary cards to close friends whose weddings we attended. As I’ve discovered there really is no end to the number of occasions you can find an excuse to send a card for.

In the US, there’s a trend for bosses to send work colleagues a personal note congratulating them on a job well done. Apparently an email or a chat by the water-cooler just doesn’t compare to a handwritten ‘Good Job!’ in an envelope left propped up on the keyboard. I’m not sure this would catch on here in the UK – we’re probably far too cool and reserved to bother with such things, but maybe when we see someone in a hit US TV show sending or receiving a note of praise, there’s a good chance we’ll all want one.

But back to me and my new found reputation as a sentimental so and so and whether or not I can stand the stick I’m getting from my male friends about all these cards I’m sending. Well, I reckon I’m big enough and ugly enough to stand a bit of ribbing and I’m certainly OK with the warm feeling of satisfaction I get when a carefully selected slice of sentiment hits the spot.