giving with meaning: choosing the right card

Today, I'm excited to share with you the second post in a new series: Giving with Meaning! Finding meaningful gifts is something I truly love to do. However, budgets, timing, and distance often impact how I celebrate those I love. In this new series I'm going to share how I've kept each of those things in mind as I assemble meaningful gifts for my friends and family. You can read more posts from this series here!

Choosing the right card

I could spend hours browsing the card sections of Target or the Paper Source searching for cards to send to the people in my community. Part of this love comes from years and years of writing thank you notes as a child. My parents established early on the habit of sending handwritten notes to family and friends throughout the year. Every Christmas my brother and I received a new set of stationery with our names embossed on the cards and our addresses embossed on the flaps of the envelopes. I loved going to the stationery store with my mom and looking at all of the options that were available, carefully choosing what I liked and would use throughout the next year. Because I formed this habit early it's been natural to continue it as I've gotten older.

Another reason I love to send cards to people is because I love to receive them myself. I shared in the intro post to this series that along with acts of service and quality time, one of my love languages is receiving gifts. Even something as small as a card makes me feel like I'm not forgotten by my extended community. Some of my most cherished possessions are the cards and notes I've received from mentors, friends and loved ones over the years! I have a stack that always seems to give me encouragement when I read them. Those written words are a meaningful gift, and I love cultivating (hopefully) that feeling in others. 

Just some favorite cards that I've saved over the years. These represent a snapshot of the relationships with family, old friends from college, and with some of my newest, but closest friends!

Just some favorite cards that I've saved over the years. These represent a snapshot of the relationships with family, old friends from college, and with some of my newest, but closest friends!

While it's been a few years since I've received that personalized stationery as a Christmas gift, I have begun keeping a stockpile of assorted cards and postcards so I can send one whenever the mood strikes. I store them in an old blue metal box that my mom gave me. Whenever I see that box I can feel my mood lift slightly, knowing that it holds little bits of happiness that I can share! 

There was a time when choosing the right card (or remembering to send cards at all!) was not easy for me. There were some years after I had moved to Indianapolis that I forgot to send cards to my family for their birthdays, I missed Father's Day's and I missed opportunities to send cards of congratulations to my friends celebrating big milestones like engagements and new jobs. And my family doesn't always hesitate to remind me of those days! I share that in the spirit of subjective perfection - what once was hard for me to remember and often gave me a lot of frustration, has turned into something I love to do because I've realized the positivity and encouragement it brings to not only the people in my community but to me as well. I've also gotten better at giving myself reminders for birthdays and anniversaries so they are always close at hand!

When I select cards there are a two main things I try to keep in mind - who will be receiving the card and what kind of stamp it requires.

Who will be receiving the card?

The first thing that I consider is to whom I am sending the card. Is it one of my best friends? Is it my grandparents? Is it a friend of our family? Knowing my intended audience is important when choosing the right card because that knowledge helps in guiding me to the right choice. And it works regardless of the occasion I'm sending a card for - be it a birthday, a wish of congratulations, or just because! 

For example when sending something to one of my friends, I tend to gravitate toward cards that feature a whimsical, encouraging or witty phrase. I consider the jokes we might share or a conversation we just had, and try to identify something that connects the card to what we already share together. However, for an elderly family member or friend of our family, I tend to choose cards where illustrations are the focus. Generational differences are a real thing, and by choosing a card that is appropriate for my audience, I am doing my best to honor the recipient in a meaningful way.

What kind of stamp does the card require? 

It might seem like a silly thing to consider, but remembering to pay attention to the postage requirements of cards is important. Square cards or cards that are adorned with 3D elements and are therefore heavier in weight cost more to send than others. So when I'm choosing a card for someone, I think about whether or not it will be sent in a box with a gift or alone in its envelope. When I'm sending an actual gift, I have more flexibility in my card choice because I don't have to have special postage on hand. But sending just the card in the envelope it comes with often restricts my choices to those cards that can be sent with a regular 47 cent stamp. 

I like to keep a few regular stamps on hand so that I can easily pop a card in the mail when I want to. I also try to have postcard stamps available as well! These 34 cent stamps can be used specifically for postcards, which allows me to keep the other stamps around a little bit longer. Of course, trips to the Post Office are an option to secure that special postage when it's absolutely required, but I've found that if I have to make a special trip, my chances of following through decline (So I make Kurt get them sometimes!). Having the correct postage on hand to send the card I want to means I can get it in the mailbox - and to its intended recipient - faster!

I've shared before that when Kurt and I were planning our wedding, we were attracted to the hand-drawn illustrations and design aesthetic of Rifle Paper Co. You might remember that I even included personalized note card sets from Rifle Paper Co. in the gifts that I gave to my bridesmaids! The soft illustrations and cheeky phrases that decorate their cards are some of my very favorite, so when I thought about sharing how I choose the right card, I also wanted to share some of those favorite cards with you as well!

card giveaway

I'm excited to be giving away ten of my favorite cards from Rifle Paper Co. (in two sets of five) to two lucky readers of You Me Serendipity! Follow the instructions below to be entered for your chance to win: 

  1. Follow on Instagram.

  2. Comment on today's Instagram post, sharing who you'd send a card to if you won.

  3. For an extra entry, regram today's Instagram post with the Giving with Meaning Series hashtag #YMSgiving to spread the giving spirit!

  4. Want to give a friend the chance to win? Tag them in the comments of today's Instagram post and you'll both be entered!

  5. Want another extra entry? Leave a comment here on the blog post as well!

Two lucky winners will be chosen and announced on Thursday, September 22, so be sure to share this with your friends all week long. Good luck! 

"Ta-Da!": celebrating small wins instead of burning out

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