What About Those Birthday Cards?

My birthday was last Sunday. It’s ok if you forgot–odds are I’ll forget yours too. Fortunately for me though, my friends and family didn’t forget, and along with the e-mails, calls, Facebook messages and two sublimely delicious quiches, I got a lot of cards.

I love getting cards. In an age when most of our communication is electronic, it’s nice to have a tangible reminder of someone else’s thoughtfulness. People took the time to pick a card they thought I would like. They wrote cute messages. One even included a generous check (can you guess who?). Most were addressed, stamped (and honestly, when was the last time most of you put an actual stamp on something?), and put in the mailbox. Others were hand-delivered by the well-wishers in person.

All this leads up to the following question…

Can I throw them away now?

What is the appropriate amount of time to keep a birthday card? Will you think less of me if, after a week, I send them to that great recycling container in the sky? Do I have y’all’s permission to pitch them? I’m just not a momento-keeping, scrapbook-gluing kinda gal. 

So I’ve decided that the statute of limitations on keeping birthday cards is one week. While we’re at it, let’s say that Christmas cards can be tossed, without guilt, on January 2.

Oh, and I have to show you my fabulous birthday cake, courtesy of friend j9:

birthday cake


Filed under At Home

17 responses to “What About Those Birthday Cards?

  1. Great cake! I toss cards after a couple days if they are for myself or husband. Cards for my kids I usually keep in a box for them for when they are grown and can decide to pitch them themselves.

  2. two weeks is my standard rule, unless the cards are particularly funny, rude, strange or beautiful. then they tend to sit around on my dining room table for a month or so… i figure if i share them with friends, then it’s still ok to toss them. joy and amusement are transient, right?

  3. Happy Belated Birthday!!

    And, if you’re super-ambitious, kids use greeting cards for crafts. A preschool or kindergarten would probably take them.

    Or chuck ’em. It’s all good.

  4. Happy belated birthday, I didn’t know it was coming up but I hope you had a great one.

    I tend to keep birthday cards indefinitely, depending who they’re from. I have ones from my parents and grandmother going back a few years, and ones from my best friend too. Most of the other’s I toss after a few months.

  5. I can’t throw anything away, especially not anything with a message of love or friendship inside.

  6. Mother

    I have a large box containing nearly 200 cards sent to me by friends & family that I received at the 80th birthday party you and your siblings gave for me (nearly 6 yrs ago). I have looked at them once or twice since then but you all can divide them up when you start dividing up other things after I have gone to that great birthday party in the sky. I probably wont ever throw them away – I also have about 6 other significant cards that I have kept. Enjoy!!!!

  7. I’ve never knowingly thrown away a card. They tend to go to boxes in odd places within the place. I don’t look at them; but, they’re there waiting.

  8. I like the one week rule you’ve declared. You always feel bad throwing cards away, but what else are you going to do with them?

    I approve of your cake, despite the garish color scheme. I think I may make a similar request for my birthday now that I know my special lady friend is a handy baker.

  9. I feel like I’m hurting the cards feelings by throwing it away. Because cards have feelings. Don’t you know that?

    Oh god, Toy Story ruined my life.

  10. Kimmer

    My birthday is August 17th. I make it a rule to throw them away on September 1st. I keep ALL cards from my husband. Like you, I MUST have a card on my birthday. I guess it makes me feel like a princess to know someone went through the trouble to pick one out and mail it.

    I actually tape every card next to my bedroom door so I can see them on display, every day, until the end of the month. I figure if people can go thru the trouble of getting them, then I should display and look at all of them for as long as I can. Weird story. But true.

  11. Sarah–the cake was deeeeelish!
    DF–glad I’m not the only one.
    Ginny–thanks, and I’ll remember that for next year. No I won’t.
    Beth–thank you. When you’re as old as me, you’ll have a huge collection of cards.
    SP–somehow, that’s what I would’ve guessed.
    Mother–I hope the big party in the sky has a great band and an open bar.
    Dave–what are they waiting for? 🙂
    AFM–big game in Athens this week. LSU is about as worthy of their No. 4 ranking as Ole Miss was.
    Rass–I did not know that cards have feelings. But then, I’ve never seen Toy Story.

    Kimmer–Well now I’m going to make sure to send you a card every year so I can be taped to your bedroom door.

  12. Happy Birthday!

    I keep mine for a year unless there’s a personal message in it. I stick them in a box and don’t see them again until run out of room in the box and need to discard the year-olds. I just imagine the sender dying, and then I’ll have to feel bad for throwing away their last card to me. But if they haven’t sent me one in more than a year, I won’t feel so bad about having thrown it away.

  13. Julie Fisher

    Yeah, I say throw away all the cards. . . but surely not MY card, right?

  14. young one

    rassles i so agree with you except with my childhood toys. I cannot get rid of them, i can pass them down to my young cousins but my toys have feelings and they get hurt if they are forgotten or thrown away. Same with cards, i have a box full of cards it is overflowing now but its in a drawer. I can’t even get rid of those cheap christmas cards you get for like 2 bucks in a pack. Why toystory why! you make my room so cluttered with sad toys! I’m not crazy okay! I just feel sorry if i hurt anyones feelings. 😦

  15. birthday cards that are personlized are the best in my opinion, they really come from the bottom of the heart of the sender.:’

  16. i love to receive birthday cards specially if they are custom built birthday cards *,:

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