Keeping the Greeting Card Tradition Alive

Do you ever miss getting a real greeting card in the mail?
Do you have fun choosing a card for someone?

When I started drawing Niki Owl, the tradition to wish people well, thank them and celebrate their birthday was to send greeting cards via regular “snail mail” as my mother likes to call it. Things have changed a lot since then, especially with technology and environmental consciousness.

Where does the greeting card tradition come from?

The greeting card tradition itself dates back to the ancient Chinese (who shared messages of good will to celebrate the New Year) and the Egyptians (who used paper scrolls to transmit their greetings). By the early 15th Century, people in Europe were exchanging handmade greeting cards, and the Germans started printing New Year’s cards from woodcuts.

So the tradition itself go back a long way, as does the use of “technology” for larger scale printing.


I loved receiving greeting cards in the mail when I was a “wee sprocket”. They usually came from family members in the US and the UK, for birthdays, Christmas and perhaps some other celebrations. I was elated when my dad would come home from the post office and hand me a letter with MY name on it. I felt special. I felt recognised. Someone outside of my close environment was thinking of me, had made the time to pick a card I would enjoy, and included a personal message. Just for me. It was wonderful. I loved the thoughtfulness. As a family, our tradition was to buy UNICEF greeting cards at Christmas to send out to our family and friends (which also meant part of what we paid for them went to a good cause).

I injected this same spirit into Niki Owl cards when I started making them as a teenager. I was delighted to gift a piece of my creativity to somebody, knowing that the design itself often reflected something unique about them and the things that made them happy. Those were my first incursions in using my creativity to inspire and uplift.

How often do you get cards like that these days?
And how often do you send them?

“The secret to living is giving.”- Tony Robbins

As technology and the internet began to permeate our lives though, sending online greeting cards became the norm for many people.

When I built the first Niki Owl website (circa 1999) – guided purely by a book on HTML and some very basic online forums – I had wanted to develop an online greeting card section. I saw the benefit of giving people the chance to not only buy my physical handmade greeting cards, but also email them if they chose to. But my programming skills didn’t stretch that far, and other sites at the time didn’t offer customisation for independent artists. Then life led me in a different direction for a while until I returned to my true passion of writing and developing Niki Owl. By then, the internet had changed significantly.

I still love making, sending and receiving cards, although I’ll admit I fell off the path of sending them for a bit. We get so busy “doing” other things that we put off making that call or sending that card to thank someone or remind them of how special they are to us.

Yet the tradition of sending cards is still huge for many people, and the beauty is that technology has come a long way, so we have lots of options now. There’s really no excuse not to take a few minutes to send a card and nourish our relationships with people, whether they’re personal or professional connections.

So, what if you could marry new technology with tradition, and send the same card design in print and online? And with the same ease of selection and detailed thought for the person you’re sending it to?

After researching ways to bring back the greeting card idea for Niki Owl, I discovered Paperless Post and how easy their platform is to use, so I decided this would be the perfect way to integrate this tradition again into my life. 

It also gave me the idea that I may not have to “build” a greeting card platform, but rather team up with another company that does this exceptionally well, and that’s what I’m finding with Paperless Post.

I’m enjoying new inspiration through the experience of sending online greeting cards to friends, clients and colleagues through Paperless Post. It’s got my creativity fired up too.

If you’re looking to send cards – online and/or printed – you’ll find a great selection of birthday cards, invitations, thank you notes and other occasions. You can upload your own designs, or choose from a classy, elegant and inspiring selection of designs. Their attention to detail and aesthetics will inspire you.

For now, I’ll be using Paperless Post to send both printed and online greeting cards to clients, colleagues and friends, and I’ll see how else this develops. Who knows? Maybe Niki Owl will become one of their featured designs. Everything starts with a dream, right?

Keep dreaming your dreams into life, and tell people how much you appreciate them,


This post was published in partnership with Paperless Post, because I love what they’re up to.

Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Leave a Comment