23 May 2013


It’s lovely to receive greetings cards on birthdays or Christmas but what do you do with yours after the event? People give them to charities, or the recycling unit, or even strip them down for reuse. When I say reuse, I mean cut them up to make gift tags or decoration on home-made cards. But in the old days of rationing and lack of cash the cards could be used again. It was easy because most had an inserted leaf with printed greeting that could be removed so no-one was aware that the card had been reprocessed.

My mother wouldn’t admit to such a practice but she did it nonetheless. She would carefully remove the insert and checked the card for indentations from pen nibs, random ink blots, and other betraying signs, before writing her own greeting.

I don’t expect many people wrote to thank the senders of cards but we did acknowledge presents that way. Unlike today, I might add. Often now it’s an email or nothing. I cannot remember how old I was but I was old enough to write thank you letters, which I did with passion. Here’s what I wrote to a pseudo aunt. She was no relation, just my mother’s friend, but we were very respectful in those days. Here's the gist of my message:

Dear Auntie Carrie. 
Thank you for the lovely present and the Christmas card. Mommy liked the card. She showed it to everybody. She said she could see where you tore out the paper from the middle so you could use it again. It made everyone laugh. 
Lots of love, Valerie.  

Mom nearly killed me when she received Auntie Carrie’s letter. They didn’t speak for years after that, no matter that Mom was as guilty as her friend when it came to reusing cards. As you can imagine I grew up knowing that whatever I wrote could be taken down and used in evidence if I didn’t choose words carefully.  

It's my birthday today... perhaps that's why I went back in time to an almost long-forgotten incident. Cheers, everyone.


Joseph Daggatt said...

Brilliant anecdote!
In future I will carefully check all cards you send to me!!!
Better check your birthday card today!!

Brian Miller said...

happy happy happy birthday
happy happy happy birthday
happy happy happy birthday
2 U 2 U 2 U!!!!!

ha on reusing cards....we cut them up and made new cards out of them...

Akelamalu said...

I always send my cards to recycling. Your thankyou letter made me chuckle. LOL

Mel said...

*laughing* Ohhhhh the honesty factor! Mama taught you well!

Happy Birthday, Valerie!!
And best wishes for awesome adventures, today and tomorrow and the day after and the day after that... (and do take the camera!)

We recycled cards for gift tags on presents as a kiddo, and I do 'recycle' *A* card yearly.
I forgot a card for he-who-has-this-deal-for-cards(just the card, mind you...not the prezzie or the event--JUST the card! And OMGosh! NEVER AGAIN!!)
For three years now, I've handed him THE card, taken it back and tucked it away for safe keeping.
I'm a problem/solution kinda gal. LOL

Happy Birthday ma'am! And have a wonderful time of it with the people who love you!!

Valerie said...

Joe, don't worry, your cards are intact and safe.

Brian, it's ok to cut them up... it's when they are passed off as originals that causes trouble, especially when a young brat tells tales...giggle.

Pearl, I laugh now but didn't at the time...grins.

Ron said...




Wishing you a beautiful day and next year, dear lady!!!!!!

And OMG...I laughed my butt off after reading your letter to your aunt. How funny!

"It was easy because most had an inserted leaf with printed greeting that could be removed so no-one was aware that the card had been reprocessed."

I had no idea you could do that?!? What a brilliant idea, and something we should still do because it would save on paper.

Have a WONDERFUL day, VALERIE!!!!!

(((((( You ))))))


Valerie said...

Oh Mel, your comments delight me. I can so visualise the scene of forgotten Thank you so much for making me laugh. I have had a brilliant day so far... a wonderful dinner and a beautiful pressie... A NEW CAMERA. Can't wait to test it out.

Valerie said...

Thank you Ron. You have a wonderful singing voice. It has been a brilliant day, a lovely lunch and, as I told Mel, a NEW CAMERA. Whoopee! Just wait until I get out there and take a few pictures!

Regarding cards, most cards these days come without that inner leaf, so there's not so much cheating...whaaaaa!

Pat said...

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope it's a bright and sunny day there! Here it is overcast and cool.

I never knew that about the cards. What a funny story! Kids are so honest!

Pam Beers. said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Valerie. Love your greeting card post. I like the re-using of greeting cards. They're so doggone expensive these days.

Picture the Beatles singing the "Happy Birthday" song to's one of my favorites.

My Mom's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be 94 years young.

Again,have a lovely birthday!

Susan Kane said...

Birthday? Happy Birthday, Val!

I always tore off the half with the writing, and kept the pretty part. then my gr-kids could cut out the flowers, whatever. Cheap art project.

DeniseinVA said...

That did make me laugh about your thank you letter Valerie. What a hoot! Out of the mouths of babes and all that.


Now you just have to imagine I have a marvelous singing voice (which I don't) but the thought is there.

Maria said...

I carefully cut what I can and use the pretty bits for love notes to my partner and daughter. I also make them into postcards when possible. I was raised on a farm in Iowa, we recycled everything, right down to not ripping open wrapping paper on gifts, but carefully saving it for the next gift....

Mr. Shife said...

Well I am now really happy that I chose to blog today. Happy birthday Val. I hope you had a glorious day and were spoiled rotten. And I did LOL when I read your the letter you wrote to your pseudo aunt. Too funny. Take care.

HermanTurnip said...

Oh, that's an awesome note! Made me laugh upon the mention of torn paper. Bwahahaha!

And not to be late to the party, may I wish you a Happy Birthday? You, my friend, deserve to get whatever you wish for.

Now, close your eyes, and blow out those candles!

Valerie said...

Thank you, Herman. Eyes closed, l,2,3.... blow!

Valerie said...

Susan, thank you. I have to say that it was a happy day.

Valerie said...

Pam, thank you. I hummed Happy Birthday, the old singing vocie not being what it was... smiles.

Hope your Mom has a happy day. 94? Wowee!

Valerie said...

Maria, hello and welcome. I have been known to save gift wrap, but my preference is for those delightful gift bags, though I'm always careful not to send them to the person who gave them to me.... smiles.

Valerie said...

Thank you, Denise. Your voice sounded great... really great... smiles

A man called Valance said...

Happy Birthday Val! Okay, so I'm a day late... but I can make it up to you...

*Gives Val a big ol' hug... and a great big kiss*

Valerie said...

Thanks, Mr V. Appreciate that you didn't forget me on my birthday. Popping across to your place now.

faye said...

Happy Belated Birthday...

I had to laugh at your post..
brought back old memories.. having words
come back to bite ....

Hope you had a lovely day..
out and about... wining and dining.

CrystalChick said...

Happy *belated* birthday, dear Valerie!!
I hope it's a wonderful year filled with all good things.

I sometimes recycle cards by putting into the paper trash for pickup, and also reuse them by cutting into a tag for a gift. Never used one sent to me to send to another though. Hey, I guess for those (especially many years ago) who had to be a bit thrift, it's a good way to do so. If you don't get caught, that is. LOL