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OH OH OH! Joyful Holiday Cards That Don't Shy Away From A Tough Year

"Dumpster Fire 2020," a greeting card from McBitterson's, is one of the several blunt seasonal options offered by Chandra Greer's stationery shop.
"Dumpster Fire 2020," a greeting card from McBitterson's, is one of the several blunt seasonal options offered by Chandra Greer's stationery shop.

During a year when many Americans have had to forgo close gatherings with family and friends, holiday cards are among the few things that can still be shared with loved ones.

But when 2020 has been more "sick and tired" than "merry and bright," what goes on a greeting card?

Chandra Greer, owner of an online stationery boutique, says her best-selling cards this season feature designs that acknowledge the gloomy realities of the present moment.

"Even though people are trying to inject a little spirit and optimism and happiness into other people's lives, the messages have been pretty real," Greer said in an interview with Weekend Edition.

Just as the website promises, most of the store's inventory leans "cheeky" and "charming."

A smiling dumpster on fire with "2020" engulfed in flames is one of Greer Chicago's most popular cards.

"That's been kind of hard to keep in stock," she said. "But we also have cards that are kind of cognizant of where we are as a society without being quite so in-your-face."

"Merry Christmask," illustrated and designed by Mimi Kim
/ Courtesy of Greer Chicago
"Merry Christmask," illustrated and designed by Mimi Kim

A sold-out offering encourages self-care in a large, no-frills font: "Holidays are for crying and eating." Another card, with text that shouts "OH OH OH!" is pitched as "the perfect Christmas card for upside down times."

There are also nods to the recent protests that have forced the country to reckon with racial injustice: "Seek Justice, Spread Hope, Radiate Light."

A Hanukkah card billed as "an eternal message for the Holiday and beyond," from Party Of One Paper.
/ Courtesy of Greer Chicago
A Hanukkah card billed as "an eternal message for the Holiday and beyond," from Party Of One Paper.

At a time when many small businesses are struggling, Greer has managed to find a successful niche.

"From the very beginning of our shutdown, we've been shipping so many cards, particularly of support — cards that say, 'It's OK not to be OK,' or 'I love you,' 'I miss you.' It's been just a spectacular outpouring of care and concern," Greer said.

"I feel almost like it's my purpose during this time, not only to help people feel better themselves but to help them help others."

Hiba Ahmad and Kitty Eisele produced and edited the audio for this story.

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