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Holiday Cards Bring Small Joys In A Tough Year

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

2020, don't hit your bottom on the way out. That may be a commonly held sentiment, but would you really want to see it on a greeting card? On the other hand, joy hasn't been center stage. The year has been less merry and bright than sick and tired. But in a year when most of us have had to forgo close gatherings with family and friends, holiday cards might be just about the only thing we get to share with loved ones. Chandra Greer has been fielding this question. She owns Greer Chicago, an online boutique for stationery, office supplies and greeting cards. She joins us from the great North Side of Chicago.

Thanks so much for being with us.

CHANDRA GREER: Thank you so much for having me, Scott.

SIMON: Chandra, how's business?

GREER: Business is pretty good, which is sort of an oxymoron maybe in these times, but we happen to offer something that people really need to feel better and to connect and to help other people have hope and encouragement.

SIMON: That's wonderful. And what messages, themes have seemed to be most popular?

GREER: Well, 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. One of our most popular cards right now is a dumpster on fire...

SIMON: (Laughter).

GREER: ...With the numbers 2020 across it. That's been kind of hard to keep in stock. But we also have cards that are kind of cognizant of where we are as a society without being quite so in-your-face.

SIMON: Yeah.

GREER: So they say things like seek joy, seek justice. So what they all seem to have in common, the cards that are most popular, is they really speak to our moment.

SIMON: That's wonderful. I mean, I confess I sketched out a couple of card themes for your consideration.

GREER: Oh, thank you so much.

SIMON: Well, I'm embarrassed that they're, you know, by comparison, a little snide. But can I try them on you?

GREER: Yes, please.

SIMON: All right. 2020, it's not your fault.

GREER: (Laughter) Awesome.

SIMON: You're just going through the motions. I can tell.

GREER: Let's print that up. No, let's print that up right now.

SIMON: And then 2020, you're still muted.

GREER: Oh, see - you sort of combine the Zoom culture with this nightmare of a year. I like that.

SIMON: Yeah.

GREER: Yeah, that has legs.

SIMON: It's nice to be able to do something that helps people this year. And your greeting cards seem to be doing that.

GREER: 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. And I was telling someone yesterday I feel almost like it's my purpose during this time, not only help people feel better themselves but to help them help others.

SIMON: You sending out a card, may we ask?

GREER: I am sending out a card. We're not selling this card, but I'm using it personally. It's got an illustration of Kamala Harris, and it says, deck the halls with smart, strong women. Kamala, la, la, la, la, la, la.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: You're not offering that for sale?

GREER: You know, I kind of wanted it to be mine.

SIMON: Right.

GREER: So, yes, I'm not offering it for sale, but I'm sending it to all my very lucky friends.

SIMON: Chandra Greer of Greer Chicago, thanks so much for being with us.

GREER: Oh, thank you, Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF DENNIS SOLEE'S "LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.