Online Valentines are Cupid’s new arrows

February 14th is Cupid’s busiest day just like December 24th is for Santa.   But, unlike Christmas, there is no one sliding down any chimney to leave goodies; giving gestures of love is a one-on-one thing. 
To those who want to make a loved one or a best friend smile using sincerity and feelings as currency, Valentine’s Day is for you.
The good news is that you can give a little love for far less than is expected in the Yuletide season.
Needless to say there are online ‘card’ companies that can send your loved one a notice with just the touch of a button.  Most of the websites I visited offered free cards to those whose email addresses I entered. 
But, I caution you. Nothing in this world is ever ‘free.’  The Valentine’s Day ecard websites are inundated with ads and pop-ups that will quickly take you to other pages should you accidently hit the wrong button.
I found it somewhat difficult to find exactly what I wanted to do with all the side bars and moving parts on each page I visited; so stay focused. 
Also, know for a fact that these ecard website folks will send you and the recipient of your ‘free’ Valentine, junk mail – that is how they make their money on top of what they get for the ads. 
Search carefully on the card for the ‘permission’ check list that allows them to use your information later on.  They have pre-checked these things and you must proactively un-check the options by clicking on each of them before you send in your card request. 

They will ask if you want to receive notifications of this or that or if they can share your info with other venders or if they can remind you again next year to send another Valentine’s greeting.
If you don’t ‘unchceck’ the boxes at each of these bullet points, your name and that of your loved one will be sold back and forth all over the place on various email blast, advertisement and newsletter mailing lists. 
With that caution, you can actually send a cute, cheap card to someone you care about.  To see the full list and make your own choice, google the key words:  Valentine’s Day, ecards, online, free. 
Here are some I checked out. 
To experiment for this article, I sent an ecard from all of the websites I note below to my husband.  On Valentine’s Day, he will be swamped with cute cards and jingles and dancing penguins saying ‘I love you.’
I have decided not to tell him in advance and let him open his emails on the 14th and get a shock that should make him smile.  Even after 29 years of marriage, we can still get joy out of doing the unplanned and cute things and that is what celebrating Valentine’s Day should be all about.
www.crosscards.com seems to be a classic Valentine’s ‘card’ for your friend, hubby, or lover.  These are hundreds of lovely photos with simple Happy Valentine’s Day greetings on them. When you enter the info to send the free card, you can add up to 100 words of text that will accompany your heartfelt greeting.
www.123greetings.com is a website for cards that offers the simple animated photos with a quick, short musical sound track that accompanies it.  It is cute!
You get a card with a penguin or happy face or some other smiling animal hugging themselves and making Pokémon style peeps, beeps and noises. You can type an unlimited amount of text and edit it until it is exactly what you want to say. 
Spelling does count, so review your message before you send it. Imagine calling your loved one an ‘angle’ instead of an ‘angel.’ 
This website requests no payment for the ecard.
www.hallmarkecards.com is the site of one of the world’s most famous greeting card companies.  Their cards are no cuter than 123 greetings’ and yet, they charge money for their services.  Yuck.  You have to ‘join’ their group and pay up to USD$30 for various forms of subscriptions.  This is definitely, not worth it. 
Do not sign up for this one.  You can preview the various cards they have just for the fun of it.  They are animated and use branded characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Disney characters, various TV show stars, etc.; this is likely why these cards cost money. 
Hallmark would have to pay over royalties to use these images and they would want to make a profit in doing so.
www.bluemountain.com is a really nice website.  Their card options are attractive.  I wanted to send the “Kissopatomus” to my hubby. 
It was supposed to be a Hippo with red lips and a flower in her hair saying the exact words that I write.  Ain’t technology lovely?  But… Blue Mountain is even more expensive than Hallmark (in spite of a title that says ‘free’ ecards)!  And, it is not worth it either. 
Save your money and go to the truly ‘free’ websites.  There is no doubt that these expensive ecard sites are easy to use, ‘cleaner’ (no side ads or strange pop-ups about weird side products) and straight forward.  But, for us here in Namibia, even if you wanted to risk putting your credit card info on line, this site (and Hallmark) only take those with a United States address attached; they are not international in focus.
Go digital and send your love online.  Check out the really ‘free sights’ for your card and take precautions against being besieged with unpleasant junk mail in the future. 
You can of course, create your own ecard if you have the graphic skills to do this.  You can go online to free image websites and download photos or short videos that please you.  You can record your own voice saying (or singing) lovely things to your friends or lover or select your favourite tunes and compile that into your own ecard for your personal use. 
Or if you are an arts and crafts sort of person, you could get tape, paste, colored paper, clip out photos from magazines and newspapers or buy glitter and cute stuff and make your own card too.
Look up romantic poetry on line and print out a clause or two that you can paste into your own card. 
With all the residual costs of Christmas slowly fading away, a cheaper Valentine’s greeting might be the right gift for you to give to that special somebody.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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