Do Czechs use greeting cards?

Discussion in 'Culture' started by iluvuma1, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. iluvuma1

    iluvuma1 Well-Known Member

    I was a little peeved at my husband recently because he didn't get me a birthday card. Is this normal for a Czech man? Are greeting cards not so common there? When I broght it up he said that he doesn't buy cards because he thinks it is more sincere to wish someone a happy birthday in person. (He did buy flowers and perfume, etc...) I thought this was a LAME excuse, am I right? He's a bit on the frugal (borderline cheap) side, and also I have to get some input here.... He didn't buy a Christmas card either. (More forgivable than the BIRTHDAY though- in my eyes.)
  2. Harry

    Harry Active Member

    Personally I think that is unforgivable, no matter whether Czech, American, English or whatever. Commemoration, celebration is an opportunity to re-invoke the spark that brought you together in the first instance and a man that bypasses that opportunity should be questioned... perhaps not too seriously... I'm not thinking Spanish Inquisition here for those that recall Mony Python... although the comfy chair or soft cushion thrown in his direction might alert him to something being out of kilter?

  3. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    Julia, your husband is just fine. There are big cultural differences between the U.S. and the Czech Republic and this is one of them. In the Czech Republic, greeting cards are sent to people if you know that you won't be seeing them in person on the particular day (birthday, Christmas, etc.). It is not common to hand someone a card while wishing them a happy birthday in person. I was surprised at the custom in the U.S. and don't understand the point of it. It seems redundant and somehow forced to be wishing your sister-in-law a happy birthday while handing her a card that says the same, only in writing. And to think that you're expected to do so and if you don't, you're risking that the person will be insulted and you'll be considered rude... As if the fact that you're there in person wasn't enough. In my opinion, what matters is that your husband thought of you and was there for you. Spending $2.50 on a card at Safeway is not a proof of love.

    The greeting card business is huge in the U.S. and I wonder if people realize how large a stake Hallmark et al. have in it and how hard they're working at "training us into obedience".
  4. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more! This greeting cards business gets utterly on my nerves, especially at Christmas time. Whole forests must die so that people may display how popular they are. Greeting cards were invented for friends and family who CANNOT be together on a special occasion. Handing over a gift AND a card is totally superflous and ecologically wasteful.
  5. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    Not only at Christmas, but on Valentine's Day, Easter, Secretaries Day (now called the Administrative Professionals Day!), Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, Fourth of July, Grandparents Day, Thanksgiving... And then we have the Thank You cards, I'm Sorry cards, Thinking of You cards, Get Well cards, Your Dog Just Turned Two cards... Americans are bombarded by holidays and special occasions all year round, every grocery store has four isles of greeting cards just to make sure that you remember to buy that card as there sure must be a good reason for it this month. Just look at how many invented holidays there are on the American calendar and how much pressure is put on people to spend, spend and spend. People are reminded about "upcoming" holidays six weeks in advance and as soon as that holiday is over, there comes the next one! Throughout the year, there's almost never a time in the U.S. when people are not made to feel pressure to buy cards, gifts and decorations for some occasion. I'm sorry to say that I became really annoyed by all this during my seven years in the U.S. and have almost turned into a holiday hater.
  6. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with Dana and Eva 2. Also actions speak louder than words, in terms of demonstrative love and consistent attentative care towards you throughout each year. Or another way of looking at it is that it is very easy to buy a card and gifts, but they mean nothing if your partner does not show his love throughout the rest of the year.

    Also there are a noteable amount of men in England who do not buy cards, including birthday cards for their wifes. Many of these same men leave it to their wifes to buy the various cards throughout the year. This could be because they look on it as falling into the women's domain, (maybe thinking it is too soppy or sentimental for them), or they would forget dates if left to them, or they do not like going into and/or being seen in cards shops, and or they are just plain lazey etc...... So many of these same wifes just accept it and/or drop subtle hints as the date of their birthday approaches. And some men that do go into card shops just pick up and buy the first card that catches their eye without reading the words written in it. In turn some of those same men's wifes receive those cards and think what lovely words; thinking he must really love me!!!
  7. susie67

    susie67 Member

    I have to agree with the above posts. Far too much emphasis is put on giving cards. Cards should be reserved for a special occasion when you are not going to see the person.

    They also have cards now that are FROM your dog and/or cat! (i.e. Happy Birthday, from the Dog)

    There was a very funny TV commercial about this. They showed a woman going into a card shop and literally spending hours looking at the cards, occasionally laughing, crying, or smiling at what was written in them. She finally finds the perfect card for her boyfriend and buys it. Then they show him at the grocery store walking past the cards. He grabbed one without reading it and bought it for her.

    He opens his, quickly scans the text (not really reading it) and says thanks. She carefully reads his, analyzing every word, then happily and tearfully thanks him for the beautiful card. Later, she is shown calling her friends to tall them about the "perfect" card he gave her and how it must have taken him hours to find it. [/quote]
  8. Harry

    Harry Active Member

    OK, slightly more seriously this time; I hope you realised that my earlier post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
    The greeting card business is... big business. So if you buy into it, well, caveat emptor.
    I was talking to a friend of mine today (in the CR) and she thought the notion of Valentine's was pretty stupid; surely if there was genuine love or affection then why bother with a special day and I totally concur. But if you live in a culture where it is celebrated then to ignore it is at your peril; specially if your other half embraces the notion.

    On another issue, I lost my mother recently and I have to say I took great comfort from the many cards of sympathy which were sent, mostly from people whom I had not spoken to for a very long time. So, a card needn't be such a bad thing.

  9. Ruzete

    Ruzete Well-Known Member

    i don't want to be the black sheep and all but i don't think it matters whether you send a card or not, it if you prefer it or not, but cards they wish the same thing as what you say, but also you can by ones that are alot more funny then anyting you can thing of, its just tradition in america tons of other places have traditions that we don't think matters or isn't good for the environment, but think if the trees aren't being cut down for cards its still gonna end up cut down for something else, maybe just for regular paper and thats even more boring then a card!
  10. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    Ruzete you have made an interesting new slant to this topic.
    There are many traditions in many countries, but from those same traditions conditioning has also emerged in some instances.

    Conditioning which means having a significant influence on how each member of society thinks and feels etc. Conditioning that just did not happen all at once, but by subtle changes and additions lets say over the last forty years to this present point in time for example. There are many forms of conditioning, but one of the most noteable ones is in the form of advertisements; tempting everyone, especially children, to buy this and that. Children who eventually grow up into adults and just accept any conditioning that they have experienced in their particular life as the accepted norm. An accepted norm that would not necessarily have been the same in the case of their parents and grandparents etc... The subsequent sales resulting in vast monetary profits for many companies that have advertised those same products. Advertising encourages us to buy more and more, buy larger, by better, and forever tempting us to replace what we have with their latest products, where in the case of that last point we are even having to dispose of items in order to buy those latest products.

    This is why many wealthy countries now speak in terms of a materialistic society, where more emphasis seems to have been placed on materialism instead of our natural environment. This has the knock on effect of depleting some vital/essential natural resources in terms of ecology, such as trees.

    Yes, trees have many uses, in the building contruction industry, furniture production, cards and paper etc... Everyone is doing it, so why not?
    Because many people are being conditioned to do that without realizing it.
    So should people 'blindly' follow others, or should they start making a stand in their own right? What would happen if there were no trees left? There a now a noteable amount of people making such a stand, which is why we are now finding eco-friendly products in shops and stores, why many items are being recycled, such as paper and cards etc. Some greeting card companies are now using recycled card and paper. Many of those same card companies would have not done this without outside pressure from those who feel strongly about preserving our natural environment.
  11. iluvuma1

    iluvuma1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Dana and Eva...

    Your frank input is appreciated. I now don't feel slighted by what I thought was negligence on my husband's part. I agree that the holidays are shoved down people's throats here. You are right on target by saying that we are "guilted" into buying all these excessive, wasteful cards. (That are just thrown away a month later.)
    I had a feeling this was a cultural quirk-
    Harry- I think that England is more similar to America in the greeting card custom. My reaction was just like yours- you made me laugh with the comment about sending a couch cushion his direction... Its a shame we are conditioned to think that if someone doesn't buy a card- they don't care.
    My condolences on your loss.
  12. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Ivoluma!

    I bet next year your husband will buy a greeting card - just to remain on your good side.
  13. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Even though department stores are flooded by all kinds of western style cards, they actually almost didn't exist before velvet revolution. Your husband is right, why would be writing to you if he is looking right into your face and can say and do much better than someone who put words together to be printed in the greeting card.

    It is not customary to be giving card to people you are with. It is also not customary at Christmas or other holidays if you are with those people. Before western style greeting cards came to do business in Cz. There were special postcards for that purpose to be mailed to people we are not going to see on those holidays. Even that was not done as often and as much like in US or Canada.

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