KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This time of year, it's easy to overspend on gifts for friends and family, but sometimes it's the gift of a handwritten card that can be the best one of all.
Annie Taylor visited Hallmark, the world's top greeting card maker, to learn more about the art of this century-old gift.
Amy Goodnow is among those who know how special cards can be. Every holiday season, she remembers her dad by pulling out the cards she once wrote to him.
“We were a big card sending family,” said Goodnow. “I had it instilled in me from a very young age to write thank you notes for everything.”
Now that she has a daughter of her own, every Christmas they've made it a tradition to send greeting cards to friends and family.
They’re not alone. About 1.2 billion cards are sent every holiday season.
"Greeting cards date back hundreds of years," said Samantha Bradbeer, the keeper of the vault at Hallmark, where cards from every decade are kept. "It was popularized under Queen Victoria during her reign in the 1830s."
One of Hallmark’s senior writers, Kat Stano, says sincerity is key to crafting a good holiday card and remembering that everyone’s Christmas is different.
"You want it to be honest,” said Stano. “You want to think about people’s current life situations and what they are going through."
Geoff Greenleaf, one of Hallmark’s most famous artists, tries to encompass the classic American Christmas with each card he paints.
"I grew up in Massachusetts,” said Greenleaf. “I just love the winter and find it’s a beautiful time of year."
His paintings begin with intricate sketches.
"The way you can draw people in with a road or going home, there's a lot of emotion around that," Greenleaf said.
Greenleaf’s art has been so well received, it became the inspiration behind Hallmark’s Christmas movie, “Evergreen.”
If you’re looking for a gift that creates a lasting memory, Goodnow suggests giving a handwritten card. It might be the best way to show someone you care.