Happy Layoff! Divorce! Draft Notice! And Other Timely Hallmark Cards.
Hallmark, which has been around since 1910, got more attention than it has in decades this week, thanks to its series of layoff cards. “Call it a sign of the times,” responded the Los Angeles Times—a theme echoed by the Chicago Tribune, AFP, and NPR, among others. As it turns out, the cards have been around since 2008. It just so happens that a reporter discovered them for the first time, and the story went viral, explained Jaci Twidwell, who works in PR at Hallmark. Not that the company minds the buzz. Hallmark has a history of acknowledging economic and cultural issues with its cards. Take a look back through some of the more timely and difficult topics addressed over the years.
Have a Smoke on Me While You’re At War, 1910s
A cigarette wrapped in cellophane was glued to this card for loved ones serving in World War I. It was popular, according to Hallmark, until a federal revenue inspector ruled that tax stamp payments were required.
In Memoriam, 1910s
A card honoring those who lost their lives in World War I.
Season’s Greetings From Poor But Honest Friends, 1930s
Christmas wasn't so merry during the Great Depression, but that was no excuse not to offer holiday greetings—if one could afford the card.
A Depression-Inspired Birthing Greeting, 1930s
You don’t need a thriving economy to celebrate, this card offered.
Sugar Is Absurdly Expensive, But I Still Love You, 1940s
Sugar was one of the key household items rationed during WWII, meaning that it got pricey and became fodder for birthday greetings.
Happy Atomic Birthday, 1950s
As the Bomb dominated headlines, it also infiltrated Hallmark greeting cards in the 1950s. Families stocked bomb shelters with emergency supplies and offered nuclear-inspired wishes courtesy of Hallmark.
Party in the Event of a Nuclear Attack, 1960s
Cold War fears of a nuclear blast gave rise to fallout shelters, filmstrips for survival, and plenty of satire. This card offered birthday instructions in the form a civil defense pamphlet.
Support for Draftees, 1960s
"Rumor has it that you've landed a job with that rich uncle of yours," the card read inside—a message of support.
Divorce Cards, 1958 to the Present
Although it’s not particularly surprising that Hallmark offers a line of divorce cards nowadays, the company first unveiled such a card in 1958.
Losing Your Job Does Not Define You
“What you do about it does,” the card offers. Hallmark unveiled layoff cards starting in 2009, following numerous requests from customers and shop owners.