Birthday cards are a simple way to show you care, and free printable birthday cards are the latest in upgrading birthdays everywhere. What's so great about free printable birthday cards? They make it possible to create a card - funny, sincere, colorful, or basic - in a few minutes at home. Forget forgotten birthdays, because with printable cards you can make a last minute birthday card with a few clicks and a printer. If you have a color printer, even better, although free printable birthday cards are compatible with all printer types. Go printable, go free, and go the extra step beyond a text, FB birthday wish, or digital card.
The History Of Birthday Cards
The birthday card seems like it's been around since the dawn of time, or at least since paper. In fact, the early purveyors of paper, the Egyptians, were some of the first people to exchange greeting cards. In China, the practice of sending handwritten notes began hundreds of years ago, and the Chinese New Year was traditionally celebrated with paper cards. Today, paper is out and digital is in; but just like the popularity of printed books versus digital tablets for reading, many of us will never let go of the tradition of sending a paper note, card, or letter. Writing a card shows you've taken a little more effort to mark the occasions.
Industrialization and Postal Service
In the 1800s, sending greeting cards became far more common when the postage stamp was invented and mailing service modernized to what we use today. Once buying postage became affordable. In 1856, a German-owned card company produced the first greeting card: the Christmas card.
Thus began celebrations of life events and holidays, with Christmas and birthday cards produced in black and white on stock card paper. Birthday cards slowly caught on, and really took off in the US with the founding of the Hallmark company in the next century.
The Hallmark Company
The Hallmark company, found in 1910 by the Hall brothers, is by far the best-known greeting card company in the United States. This company tells an interesting story of greeting cards, as they began in the postcard business but switched to personalized cards when the public began demanding more privacy in their correspondence.
The use of envelopes to make communication private changed the letter writing business and made greeting cards hugely popular. In 1915, just a few years before the US entered World War I, the Hall brothers produced their first greeting cards with envelopes.
The Mid Century Greeting Card Craze
In the 1950s, Americans dug into the consumer lifestyle, and greeting cards became affordable and widespread. Valentine's Day became the next major card-fueled celebration, which opened the doors for cards for every event. Color printing in the mid-fifties produced red and pink Valentine's Day wishes.
Not far behind were anniversary cards, and get well cards. In the 1970s, we branched into graduation cards, then greeting cards became personalized to specific people (grandma, aunt, etc.) and ages (50th birthday, 60th, and so forth). With the internet came digital cards and today, free printable birthday cards.
What To Write On A Birthday Card?
What you write on a birthday card should be personalized, showing that you are thinking of the person, and sending positive vibes and wishes. This hasn't changed since the invention of birthday, anniversary, and get-well cards a hundred years ago. What has changed is that today there is a mood for every card, every situation, and nearly every event.
What Not to Write on a Free Printable Birthday Card
If you go to the trouble of printing a card, whether it's a free printable birthday card or a birthday card you buy, make sure you write something! Don't just sign your name, but show your co-worker or friend or family member you care by writing a brief phrase or a few sentences of a personalized note. It doesn't have to be long-winded, clever or funny but should reflect your relationship with the card recipient. Remember, they won't know it's a free printable birthday card!
When You Hardly Know Her (or Him)
If you are sending a free printable birthday card, or any greeting card, to someone in the office, it's okay to sign your name only but a brief message like, "Looking forward to working with you," or "Best birthday wishes" is fine. Keep it appropriate, but let them know they matter. It's best to use free printable birthday cards with sincere or simple phrases when the recipient is a co-worker. Humor, especially snarky or potty-mouthed humor, can backfire at work.
When It's Your BFF
Sometimes it's hard to know what to say when a card seems trite or superficial. But birthday cards have meaning even when the inside is blank or includes a hackneyed saying. Cross out the boilerplate greeting and add your own, or use the blank, free printable birthday card to write a meaningful note. Cards bring their own meaning because most of us have grown up them and receiving a card shows caring even when it has a simple design and well-worn platitude. If your BFF or spouse is the receiver, a meaningful reference, a heart, or a drawing is often plenty of communication.
Free Printable Birthday Cards You Can Use
The internet is filled with free printable birthday cards, but of course if it's online it can be difficult to sift through the dreck, Most of these free printable birthday card sites are hoping you'll sign up for a greeting card service, or offer the most basic designs in their free printable birthday card lines.
When Free Isn't Free
Greeting card companies you haven't heard of, which includes all of them except Hallmark, have jumped on the free and printable wagon. When frantically searching for a card that you've forgotten to send, a "free" link that goes to a site that charges for the card an envelope (surprise: there's isn't much savings over store bought cards) sucks some people in. Who has time to find a site that's actually free? This is why we recommend looking at a few good sites, signing up, and getting free printable birthday cards - and greeting cards for all occasion - through a membership. The memberships are often free.
How to Use Free Printable Birthday Card Sites
These sites will want you to download the membership form. These sites support themselves through advertising and the fact that some members will make purchases. Today's Creative Life, for example, is a printable site that includes cards, banners, wall art, and other paper-based craft supplies. Having an option for printable items simplifies the lives of crafters, especially those who live far from retail stores where they can purchase paper supplies. Sign up includes your email, and becoming a member gives access to free printable birthday cards, greeting cards of all types, and other free promotions.
Making a Simple Design Work
Users of online services know free means there is always an opportunity to upgrade. Members of these sites can download simple cards but there are endless opportunities to pay for cards that are better looking, easier to access, and come in a large array of colors and sizes. Don't fall for the hype and use the site to get your free printable birthday cards for free! It may take a little work but free products are there if you take a little time to find them.
Printable Envelopes and Address Labels
The sites that promote free printable birthday cards often have links for envelopes and labels. These will usually take you to a company that specializes in lables, like Avery, where you will need to buy products. It takes work to find free envelopes, but as card buyers know, a card without an envelope is usually not very handy. The more useful sites who you how to construct your own envelopes and this is the path you want to take. A free printable birthday card with a free hand-crafted envelope will save you up to $4 a card. You do have to pay for paper and ink, and color ink will cost you. But the savings are very real.
The best way to take advantage of free printable birthday cards and other greeting cards is to plan ahead. Print several cards at once using thick, hard stock paper, use black and white when you can, and make a batch of envelopes. These "generic" cards can be used for any birthday occasion. No one will notice that you didn't spend a lot in the Hallmark store for a color, personalized card; and the ones who do, will admire your ingenuity.
Free printable birthday cards are a great way to take advantage of craft and card companies that want you to buy their cards. Why pay when you can save hundreds of dollars a year if you regularly celebrate occasions? As a bonus, using free printable cards for all occasions will help you plan. You don't need a fancy printer or special paper, just a little imagination and time. Be part of the greeting card revolution, get creative, and save money all at once!