Hallmark, You Are Contrived!

Hallmark, You Are Contrived!
(Original artwork by Abby Sheaffer)

With Father's Day today, Hallmark will undoubtedly see an unprecedented spike in sales. Hallmark is notorious for their flawless execution of nostalgic and often tearful ad campaigns. Their advertisements are so good at making you buy their cards, one is often a pariah for not buying the $4.99 card with the signature crown emblem.

Now, I understand if you're in a pinch--Hallmark is your man. Hallmark already has millions of cards waiting at a nearby Walgreens that will perfectly convey your message if you haven't the time to sit down and write it. But when did actually taking the time to sit down at your desk and lovingly write a letter--in your own words, not a stranger's--when did that become "too much" or  in some cases,"too little"?

In my family, it's either Hallmark or bust. My mom and sister tearfully watch the ads and the Hallmark movies on CBS or ABC, and experience (as the kids are calling it these days) "all sorts of feels". I guess all my exposure to Hallmark has left me a bit allergic. As a child, whenever I couldn't get to the store to buy a Hallmark card, I would end up making one or writing one, or  laboring over a watercolor still life or landscape--but it was all for naught--it was not or could not ever compare to a Hallmark.

Perhaps it is for this reason I find Hallmark contrived. Whereas I actually put my heart and soul into a letter (my tears staining the fancy stationery purchased from an artisanal shop), recalling fond memories I actually created with my sibling or parent, it still did not register with them.

I would always watch my mom or sister open my card, and wait with anticipation (perhaps this time would be different?) as they withdrew it from its fine envelope, and immediately--either upon seeing my calligraphy or the wash of watercolor--they would grimace and then scan the back.

No Hallmark emblem? Hmph!

However, in the wake of all this I've managed to neglect the one person who always enjoys my handwritten letters and my labored-over watercolors--my dad.

Every year on my dad's birthday or Father's Day, no matter how cynical I've become with my painting or my writing, I always strive to create something amazing for him because I know he'll appreciate it. To this day, one of my favorite paintings I've ever created is one I made for my dad on his birthday, and in a world of constant rejection and strife, it's comforting to know I always have a fan when it comes to my work.



Filed under: Opinion

Leave a comment