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What is Galentines Day?

What is Galentines Day?

If you’re wondering to yourself “What IS Galentines Day?” then you’re about to find out about something fabulous! Because, despite selling greeting cards (and Valentine’s Day being my busiest time of year) I think Galentine’s Day is even better 😍

Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for some, whether you’ve struggled to find someone special, just broken up with your other half or even decided that you’d rather be single. It’s all a bit ‘coupley’ and implies that if you’re not involved in a romantic relationship you’re missing out. And that’s where Galentine’s Day comes in…

So what is Galentines Day?

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that it’s a blend of Valentine’s Day and Gal – and it’s a chance to celebrate friendships with your gal pals. Specifically those pals that have stuck with you as romantic relationships have come and gone…

It all started with an episode of Parks and Recreation. Leslie, the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department in the series, explained:

What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.

“Galentine’s Day”, Parks and Recreation, 2010.
Parks And Recreation Happy Galentines Day GIF by NBC - Find & Share on GIPHY
Galentine’s Day from Giphy

It’s such a great idea that it didn’t take long for it to advance beyond its fictional roots and hit the real world. It’s not an official holiday but who cares! You can even buy Galentine’s cards now, but it’s more about spending time with your besties.

One of the reasons it’s become popular (aside from the fact that celebrating friendship is always a good idea) is that it’s a much more inclusive celebration. Valentine’s Day can feel a bit grating if you’re not in a relationship with someone. Although you can send a Valentine to anyone you fancy, it has kind of become the domain of smug couples. Galentine’s Day on the other hand is for anyone. You don’t even have to be single!

Although Galentine’s Day did start out as a celebration of ladies celebrating each other, it has started to be accepted as an occasion that honours any type of friendship, so is becoming even more inclusive as a result.

Are you going to celebrate Galentine’s Day with your besties? Come on over to Instagram and let me know how…

Credit: Main photo by Uby Yanes on Unsplash

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Halloween Traditions and Their Origins

Halloween traditions

Halloween is almost here and so I thought I’d find out some fun facts about the origins of Halloween traditions. I don’t remember much about Halloween as a kid, as it wasn’t much of a thing in South Africa, where I grew up, at least not in those days. So the first exposure I had to trick or treating was when I had my own children.

And now it’s become a huge deal! Halloween decorations are in the shops as soon as the kids are back at school. Halloween parties give us adults an excuse to dress up too. And costumes are getting fancier and scarier each year! But where did all these spooky customs come from? Here are the origins of four of our modern Halloween traditions.

4 modern Halloween traditions

Wearing Halloween costumes πŸ‘»

Halloween has been linked to Samhain, the Celtic festival marking the end of summer. It was believed that the veil between the living and the spirit world was thinnest at this time and spirits could cross over. People would keep the ghosts at bay by lighting sacrificial bonfires and dressing up in costumes, which is why we still wear fancy dress on Halloween today.

Trick or treating 🍬

Trick or treating became popular in the US early in the twentieth century when Irish and Scottish communities over there revived the Medieval custom of ‘guising’. This involved dressing up in costumes and going from door to door performing ‘tricks’ such as reciting poems or singing songs in exchange for food or money.

Bobbing for apples 🍎

This tradition originated as a divination ritual for people to find out who their future spouse might be. They’d bob their heads in water while trying to bite apples that would give them a clue. There seem to have been different versions of this. In one the ladies would mark an apple before tossing it in a tub of water and the man who pulled it out would likely be their future spouse. In another the women would bob their heads in water while trying to bite into apples that were named for their male suitors.

Jack O’Lanterns πŸŽƒ

This tradition originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes were carved into decorations. It’s based on an Irish folk tale about a drunkard named Jack who managed to trap the devil in a tree by hacking a cross into the bark. Jack had Satan vow never to take his soul in exchange for allowing him down from the tree. Unfortunately, because he wasn’t a very good guy he wasn’t allowed into heaven when he died, and of course the devil couldn’t allow him into hell either, and threw a hot coal at him. Jack put the burning coal inside a turnip and used it as a lantern as he wandered around trying to find an eternal resting place.

Nowadays most people carve pumpkins into Halloween decorations. Looking at these carved turnips I think I can understand why – they’re much scarier looking and would probably terrify the kids! πŸ˜†

Bonus Halloween Fact

While I was researching these Halloween traditions I came across another fun fact that I couldn’t not share! Watching the Halloween movies at this time of year has become a tradition in its own right. But did you know that the iconic creepy mask worn by Michael Myers in the movie was based on a Star Trek mask? The original movie was on a very tight budget so they ended up using a cheap Captain James Kirk mask, which was spray painted white and had the eye holes reshaped. Who knew that William Shatner could look this terrifying with such minor adjustments?

Michael Myers Horror GIF by absurdnoise - Find & Share on GIPHY

Happy Halloween! 😱

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Valentine's Day Cards Timeline

Rose valentine's day card

Valentine’s Day and giving Valentine’s Day cards are normal for us now at this time of year, but this wasn’t always the case. The earliest celebrations date back to Roman times. The cleansing ritual of Februa and Lupercalia, the pagan festival to ensure fertility and bounty, took place between 13th and 15th February. It wasn’t until later that it became associated with romance and love though. And sending Valentines was still an even longer way off…

fANTastic Valentine's Day card

The first Valentine message (maybe!)

Some believe that the first Valentine message was sent around 278 AD. A St Valentine (there were quite a few over time!) supposedly fell in love with his jailer’s daughter when imprisoned. Legend has it that he wrote her a farewell note signed “from your Valentine” on the day he was executed.

The earliest surviving Valentine

A Frenchman,Β Charles the Duke of OrlΓ©ans, is recorded as sending the earliest surviving Valentine note. He was imprisoned (bit of a theme here!) in the Tower of London after being captured in the Battle of Agincourt in 141. While there he wrote a poem to his wife, Bonne of Armagnac, where he spoke of his love for her and referred to her as his Valentine. Unfortunately she died before finding out about her husband’s incarceration 😒. His words are now in the British Library.

The earliest English language Valentine

The earliest example of a valentine in the English language is also in the British library. This is a letter from a Margery Brews to her fiancΓ© John Paston written in February 1477. She refers to him as her “right well beloved Valentine”, while asking him to marry her regardless of being unable to persuade her father to increase her dowry. They did end up getting married!

Early Valentine’s Day cards

By the 1700s Valentine’s Day cards more like what we are used to began to become popular. They were all handmade as pre-printed cards didn’t yet exist. Symbols of love like flowers and love knots were used to decorate the cards and puzzles and poetry were also sometimes included. The cards were usually slipped under a door and anonymously signed “your Valentine”.

What is believed to be the oldest printed Valentine card is held by York Castle Museum. It is still coloured in by hand as full colour printing hadn’t yet been invented.

The sending of Valentines really took off in 1840. Printing had become more affordable and the British Parliament introduced flat rate mail delivery throughout England using the first stamps. These made it much easier and cheaper to purchase and send mail. This combined with the adoption of envelopes to allow privacy encouraged the practice of sending Valentine’s Day cards to flourish.

Valentine's day
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In the Victoria era Valentine’s cards started to become humorous, political and even sometimes outright rude – not dissimilar to what we send today! New technology also allowed for some really ornate designs too – including embossing, cut paper and layered windows.

Modern Valentine’s Day cards

Over 25 million cards are sent for Valentine’s day each year in the UK! It will be interesting to see whether in 2021 the pandemic leads to more or less cards being sent…

Nowadays we don’t just send Valentine’s to our secret crushes and long term partners, we also sometimes send them to friends (often called a Galentine or Palentine card) and family. I love this, as any type of love is worth celebrating 😍. Why should Valentine’s Day only be for couples?

No matter what your interests, outlook or relationship status, you can pretty much find a Valentine card to suit these days. Why not check out my range of Valentine’s Day cards and see if you can find the perfect way to send love to your favourite person/people?


Rose Valentine's day card

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Sending Cards and Letters

keepsakes - cards and letters

Sending cards and letters seems to be making a bit of a comeback. There’s something really thrilling about getting a card or personal letter through snail mail. Much as we all love email and social media, they’re just not as special…

postbox for sending cards
Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

Everywhere you look there is advice on how to do a ‘digital detox’ or stop social media from taking over your day. It really has become too much of a good thing (and that’s now a bad thing! πŸ˜†) We’re starting to once again prefer physical correspondence over screen time and the art of letter writing and the popularity of greeting cards is growing once again.

Why we love getting & sending cards & letters

What is it about getting a card or letter that’s so exciting? I think part of it is that it is a physical thing that you can actually hold in your hand that proves that someone was thinking about you! You know that the sender deliberated over which card to send or what writing paper to use and then put the effort into writing a personal message to you (there’s no delete or undo button so more thought has to be put into what to say when hand writing something). And then they paid for postage and walked to a postbox to mail the card or letter to you. That’s a lot more effort than quickly typing a “You ok hun?” or pressing a like button!

Most of us have kept special cards or letters that we’ve received and we treat them like treasure. We put them in a special box for keepsakes or tuck them safely away in a drawer so that we can pull them out and enjoy them over and over in the future.

keepsakes - cards and letters
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Cards and letters are just a lot more persona. In an age where everything is so impersonal we need that. And of course since the pandemic started we are craving that personal connection even more than usual… And I wrote in my review of last year that we are once again starting to see the value of greeting cards as a result.

So I say “Yay!” to snail mail making a comeback! Let’s make the effort to remind our favourite people how special they are to us by sending cards and letters, and not just on special occasions either. I’m off to send my bestie a card right now! πŸ˜ƒ


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Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

I’ve been selling a lot of unique wedding anniversary cards with my cartoon portraits on recently – I guess it’s that time of year 😍. I know about paper, silver, ruby and gold anniversaries but I started wondering, what are the traditional wedding anniversary gifts year by year in the UK? It turns out there are both traditional and modern anniversary milestone gifts.

Lists of traditional and modern wedding anniversary gifts (UK)

These are list of both traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year for the UK – it may vary in the US and around the rest of the world. Can you believe they have milestone gifts all the way up to a 90th wedding anniversary?!


Traditional wedding anniversary gifts by year

1st – Paper or cotton
2nd – Cotton or paper
3rd – Leather
4th – Linen, silk
5th – Wood
6th – Sugar
7th – Woollen
8th – Salt
9th – Copper
10th – Tin
12th – Silk and fine linens
15th – Crystal
20th – Porcelain
25th – Silver
30th – Pearl
35th – Coral
40th – Ruby
45th – Sapphire
50th – Gold
55th – Emerald
60th – Diamond
65th – Blue sapphire
70th – Platinum
75th – Diamond, gold
80th – Oak
85th – Wine
90th – Granite

Modern wedding anniversary gifts by year

1st – Clock
2nd – China
3rd – Crystal, glass
4th – Electrical appliance
5th – Silverware
6th – Wooden objects
7th – Desk sets, pen & pencil sets
8th – Linens, lace
9th – Leather goods
10th – Diamond jewellery
11th – Fashion jewellery, accessories
12th – Pearls, coloured gems
13th – Textiles, furs
14th – Gold jewellery
15th – Watches
16th – Silver hollowware
17th – Furniture
18th – Porcelain
19th – Bronze
20th – Platinum
21st – Brass, nickel
22nd – Copper
23rd – Silver plate
24th – Musical instrument
25th – Silver
30th – Diamond
35th – Jade
40th – Ruby
45th – Saphire
50th – Gold
55th – Emerald
60th – Diamond
80th – Diamond, pearl
85th – Wife’s birthstone
90th – Diamond, emerald

Of course there are no set rules when it comes to romance, so you can interpret them however you like, put your own original twist on them or ignore them altogether! Every couple will have their own original way of celebrating a milestone anniversary…


Special milestone anniversary messages

Did you know that in the UK you can get a message from the king or queen for 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries? You do need to apply to Buckingham Palace for this (other Commonwealth realms can also apply, via the Governor-general’s office).

In the US couples can receiver a wedding anniversary card from the President for their 50th anniversary and beyond. In Canada they can receive a message from the Governor-General for their 50th anniversary and every fifth anniversary following it.

And in Australia couples can also receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General for their 50th wedding anniversary and all subsequent anniversaries. They may even get messages from the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition leader, their local state and federal parliament members and state Governors for the same anniversaries.

Anniversary milestone cards

Would you like to give a wedding anniversary card for a milestone year that is extra special and more like a gift? My custom cartoon portrait anniversary cards are each hand drawn by me based on photos you supply so are completely unique. I can draw from the original wedding photos or as you and your other half look today. The text is also customisable so works for any milestone from the 1st anniversary to forever.They’re also great to give to other (very special) couples and you could even give a frame at the same time, making it easy to display and treasure forever. You’ll get extra credit if you match the frame material to the traditional anniversary gift by year!

Click on any of the images below to go straight to that item in my greeting card shop.

Custom Cartoon Portrait Ruby Wedding Anniversary Card
Ruby Wedding Anniversary Card

Custom Cartoon Portrait Silver Wedding Anniversary Card
Silver Wedding Anniversary Card

Custom Cartoon Portrait Golden Wedding Anniversary Card
Golden Wedding Anniversary Card

Custom Cartoon Portrait Anniversary Card
Anniversary Card