Mom reading a greeting card

Do we still need Hallmark?

Happy Mother’s Day. You may not be a mother, but soon you’re going to be inundated with that greeting. More than that, you’re going to probably order flowers, maybe buy chocolates, go out to dinner and of course, buy a card. All totaled, Americans will spend about $20 billion this year, making Mother’s Day, the second biggest holiday when it comes to consumer spending. You read that right, bigger than Valentine’s, bigger than that Fourth of July BBQ and even bigger than Thanksgiving. You’ll spend almost $60 this year on Mom. Yup. Happy Mother’s Day.

The first Mother’s Day was in 1905 when Anna Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia, held a memorial for her mom. She then set off on a campaign to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the declaration. Hallmark jumped on the bandwagon and from then on, Mother’s Day has been a worldwide commercial enterprise.

Mom with her kidsHallmark of course, is who most of us think of when we think about getting a Mother’s Day card. Hallmark is based in Kansas City Missouri. Joyce Hall founded the company in 1910 and Mother’s Day, along with Valentine’s Day, are their biggest holidays. Today’s Hallmark however, is a lot more than greeting cards. Their television series Hallmark Hall of Fame, has won 80 Emmy Awards. Their cable TV network is in nearly 90 million homes, and they own Crayola.

Greeting cards though are at their core an my question for you, is do we need them?

If what you make is printed, your business is in decline. I worked at RR Donnelley for 11 years. They are the world’s largest printer and in 1993, I wrote a white paper for my boss that outlined how the Internet was a threat…you can see how that turned out. I don’t get a newspaper. No TV Guide or Newsweek. The US Post Office is talking about cutting delivery days. And greeting cards? Last month, the Hallmark shops in my town all closed. The manager said, “It’s a sign of the times.”

This year, Americans will spend about $60 each, celebrating Mother’s Day

Bespoke cards are gaining popularity and there are e-cards. I think though what’s really killing greeting cards is Facebook. On my last birthday, I got 3 cards in the mail but 108 “happy birthdays” on Facebook. Social media and other emerging media have all but replaced sending a card.

I still like getting cards. I like sending them too. I’m sad to see this tradition fade. How will you wish your mom a happy Mother’s Day? Facebook or a card?



Von Hoffman, C. (2014, May 9). How much will people spend for a Mother’s Day gift? – CBS News. Retrieved from

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2 thoughts on “Do we still need Hallmark?

  1. I use social media to publicly acknowledge friends and families for holidays, but I’m too sentimental and still love a printed cards (plus how impersonal are ecards?)

    I already purchased my mother her Mother’s Day card, but not from Hallmark. I typically order my own or, like in this case, order one a little more whimsical from Etsy. This year my mom is getting a Mommie Dearest theme card complete with wire hanger.

  2. I think that Hallmark is going to be useful for generations to come. People are emotional creatures and love the ability to have a tangible card. For example, Mother’s day just past. I walked into my grandmothers house and she asked me if I had her card. Seeing that this was the question she had for me not even worry about a gift more or less my well being.


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