Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Miserable Failure, Good Shopping, Being Crafty, Bahumbug, And Greeting Cards

Type “miserable failure” into Google, hit the I’m-Feeling-Lucky button, and me oh my! (You have all probably seen this one before, so my apologies if I am only perpetuating the same, old, boring funny from last week).

For all the best in Christmas shopping, these are some of the coolest places to go online for stuff with style: French Kitty, Wackyjac, Exit9 Gift Emporium, Damned Dollies, Ruby Goes Retro, and sparklecraft.com. And for your craftier loved one, go to Sublime Stitching. The Fiery One says that I should have done this earlier, because then he would have had time to go through the list and figure out what I wanted. Well, tough luck, Fiery One! If it is cutting it too close to Christmas, then you can always think ahead to birthdays or housewarmings. Or, you can do what Starcat and I do, which is forgetting about each other until mid to late March, and then sort of tossing something over the table and saying “Happy Christmas” or “Merry Birthday.” (If you are a reader of the magazine “Bust,” then you will have noticed where I have picked up some of my online shopping habits. There is some pretty good shopping at their “Boobtique,” as well).

I have been all crafty lately, what with the scarf-knitting, and yesterday afternoon I added a new skill to my repertoire – journal-making. Out of a shoe box, twenty-five sheets of paper, beading wire, paisley cloth, and glue, I created a fairly believable journal. What I mean by believable is that my journal doesn’t look too much like an imposter. So often when I make things, they turn out kind of clumsy-looking, as though they are trying really hard to be the real thing but can only dream of being so genuine, like the nerdy girl in high school who just would not accept her nerdiness and instead tried to pull off popular-girl clothes in a miserably unsuccessful fashion. This journal, though, is oh-so-popular, and it is wearing its journalness with finesse. For my next project, I would like to learn to crochet granny squares so I can make myself a nice backpack or satchel.

This has been a weekend almost entirely devoted to hanging around in my orange, tropical-themed housecoat and avoiding all household duties. Even my poor bunny has been forced to live in his dirty cage for a few hours longer than usual. Why, you might ask? Well, I have given this some thought, and I think it might be because, although I am not an out-and-out Christmas-hater, I do not like many aspects of this merry season, and so I am determined to dig myself in and not come out until it all passes by. For example, I have always found greeting cards annoying (aside from the homemade variety, because they actually mean something). Christmas cards fill me with this sense of obligation to those who sent them. I am supposed to display them, and they take up space and clutter things up more than they already are, and they are a waste of trees since there are only about twelve words on them, and they lack intimacy. Another example is Christmas shopping. I am horrible at this particular deed. I seem to lose my sense of orientation in areas devoted to shopping, and I completely forget whatever ideas I had about what my mother, brother, or anyone else might have liked as a present. Multiple family dinners are another evil. I don’t mind having a family dinner with the Fiery One’s family, and then having a family dinner with my family, and then calling it a holiday, but my family wants me for at least three family dinners, which only serve to make me drink a lot immediately afterwards. I do look forward to presents, though, (and not just mine), and sitting around in a warm house while it’s almost perpetually dark outside (at this time of year here you will find that you often go to work before the sun is up and come home after it is already down), and eating good food, and going to visit friends and family that we don’t get to see enough of. So, you see, I am not a Christmas-hater. I just hate the ticky-tacky parts and the personal-sense-of-obligation parts.

Greeting Card Facts and Links:
* The tradition of sending greeting cards dates back about 200 years.
* From the early to mid-1800s, greeting cards were expensive and were sent mostly by the elite and wealthy. The printing of the world’s first postage stamp in the 1840s gave rise to their popularity, and by the 1850s affordable cards were on the market.
* The oldest known greeting card is a valentine dating back to the 1400s that is now in the British Museum.
* Visit the Postcard and Greeting Card Museum.
* Send your very own virtual Russian history greeting card here! They are a great way to cheer up anyone’s day, especially if you pick the upbeat Wagner tune to accompany your greeting.
* Here is a brief history of the greeting card.
* Even greeting card publishers have their own association. I just don’t get why they have that creepy guy befriending a kid as the main picture for their website. Shouldn’t it be a greeting card or a store or an artist creating a greeting card?
* Carlton Cards Canada was founded 83 years ago!
* I like the simplicity of the braille greeting cards. I think they should also market these to the sighted. They would enjoy these just as well.

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