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Perhaps Is Time Again To Make Not BuyThat Birthday Card

It's birthday card time and you have to think whether to buy a card or to make one. What would say the most about how you feel about them? A bought card that could be given to any Tom, Dick or Harry? Or a card that has been carefully crafted with love? It's a no-brainer really, isn't it? What type of card is likely to be appreciated the most, shared with others and kept for the longest time.? Yes, whilst we might be impressed by the quality of a bought card (usually unlikely) or indeed the sentiment (often bland), it's pretty certain that the handmade has it. Now before you go rushing to the corner fearing that your handmade, will look home-made, panic not and look at the bigger picture - the emotion and feeling behind the thought. 1.

Do you really think that your nearest and dearest will 'pick apart' a handmade offering? 2. Is it likely that they will scrutinize every aspect of your lovingly crafted card? I think not! Hopefully they will be overwhelmed by the effort you've taken, the love you've imparted and the feelings and affection you're sharing as you create a birthday card, especially for them. Of course, if you're known to be great at these things then there may be more expectation on the type and complexity of the card you plan to give, but in my view that's when the whole social point of these occasions can get a little out of proportion. What, essentially, is the point of a birthday card after all? 1.

To show love and affection for the birthday person 2. To acknowledge the passing of another year 3. To celebrate making it through the past year I've only listed 3 here and no doubt you'll think of others.

The point of a handmade birthday card is not to get marks out of 10 for your efforts, it's to exchange affection. Seen in that light, it should take the pressure off. On the other side of things though, you've got to acknowledge how your card will be received (yes, even after you've done the soul searching of how, and why you make it in the first place). It's to be hoped that the recipient will receive it in the spirit in which it was made.

Simply: you make it with love, and they receive it with love. It seems pretty obvious that you wouldn't put in too much time and effort to make a birthday card for someone who's unlikely to appreciate it. Chances are that such a person might not be on your birthday card list anyway and wouldn't warrant even a 'shop-bought' card. So what it boils down to then is not the finished product, but the purpose and motivation behind the card. Oh I know that's easy for me to say. Yes, we shouldn't care really about looks, but concentrate on the point of it all.

Perhaps we should begin to question how we got railroaded into parting with our cash at present giving time in the first place. In the 'olden days' there was nothing else for it - you made both your greeting cards and your gifts. People became inventive in what they created and everything was accepted in the spirit in which it was intended. But then too, there weren't any expensive alternatives.

Do you really think you'll be judged on the type of card you give? It's so easy to get caught up in the social exchange of card and gift giving that we miss the real point of it. What value do we place on making a card for someone we care about? Those in the craft industry understand this well. Making cards is big business. Cards sell on both the look and the message. Shop cards, kit cards; they all vie for our attention, and we can get caught up in the appearance of the thing. Perhaps its time to go back to basics again as they did in days gone by.

It'll take a brave soul to shun convention and create a birthday card for the sheer joy of it. Because the cynic in me knows that looks usually win over sentiment. But what's wrong with making a birthday card without worrying about the finish and presentation, and concentrating on the process instead? If we've chosen the right recipient then the Birthday boy or girl will love it all the same.

Geraldine Jozefiak has created a number of card activity kits to help you create a handmade card for someone special. The Craft Teacher has a wide selection of card projects, ideas and courses to learn yourself or to share with others.

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