The Cards Are Stacked Against Us

Hi there, greeting card companies!

There are millions of Jews in the United States1, and I’m willing to bet that nearly all of us celebrate Hanukkah in some fashion. Why, then, do you put so little time and effort into Hanukkah cards? Every year, without fail, we’re disappointed to go to the store and discover the same thing:

  • There are about a dozen cards to choose from, if you’re lucky.
  • The cards are the same ones from last year, and the year before that, and the one before that, and … you get the idea.

Here’s a photo of the Hanukkah cards available at a store near me. The red checkmarks denote cards I’ve purchased at least once in the past. The green checkmarks are reruns of cards I’m pretty sure I’ve seen before.

This year, I announced to my friends and family that I’m not buying Hanukkah cards. It’s simply embarrassing to give people the same cards over and over again. It’s as impersonal and thoughtless as regifting — but, unlike regifting, you have to fork over money. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve given the Complimentary Spouse the “Happy Llamakah” card — which I thought was clever the first time I saw it years ago.2

So, greeting card companies, put in the work and show us something new next year. The best present you can give this mensch next Hanukkah is a few new cards to choose from!

1 The Pew Research Center says there are 5.8 million American adults that identify as Jewish, plus 1.8 million children being raised Jewish in some form.3

2 Lucy and Linus, of course, get the card with the dachshund menorah each year.

3 Some back-of-the-envelope math: If 7.6 million Jews give a card each night of Hanukkah, and the average retail price is $3 a card, that’s $182.4 million in sales.