I’ve Got an Unhealthy Obsession with Lovepop Gift Cards, But It’s Cool

What is the purpose of a gift card? If you’re like me, you’ve long since gotten tired of Hallmark cards. They’re cute but generic.

When you send someone a card that says “I didn’t write this, but I spent 60 seconds picking it out,” it almost implies that you don’t care rather than that you do care. And it’s astounding to me that after decades of social progress, gift cards still feature flowers and cooking for mothers, neckties and lawn mowing for fathers. People are diverse. A generic card doesn’t show them that you know them well. It shows that basically you don’t know them. Once I had so much trouble finding a Hallmark birthday card for a male friend that I gave up and as a joke bought a “For your Quinceanera, Princess” card. I crossed it all out and wrote “Happy Birthday”.

Gee, I had no idea that I had such strong feelings about greeting cards! Maybe it’s just because I value thoughtful gestures and the kindness they show. So you have to do it right.

This issue must have been percolating in my mind for some time, because I kept noticing the Lovepop booths in the subway. When you walk past you can see them selling gift cards. They have one in South Station and one in the Charles Street station. They’re set up at the Pru, Faneuil Hall, and the Natick Mall, and you can also buy online. Eventually I felt like Lovepop was calling to me, like a friendly ghost voice that nobody except me can hear.

So fine. I stopped one day and went over to look. Their gift cards are big, oversized. They lay flat, like a Hallmark greeting card. But then you open them and a 3D sculpture pops up, just like a children’s pop-up book. Ho ho ho! Pretty great. Yea, man. It’s like origami but they animate. It makes you want to close and open them over and over, slowly. It’s mesmerizing to watch them fold and unfold.

Even better, the cards are classy, instead of cartoony. But they’re not so pastel and syrupy that you can only use them with your elderly relatives. They come blank, without any writing, so you can write your own text, which isn’t that hard. Don’t be lazy. Writing something takes less time than hunting for a Hallmark card that ends up not saying quite what you wanted to say. And it makes your card warmer, more personal, and more thoughtful. 

Lovepop cards are delicate. Do not give them to your dog to chew on. Do not fold them to put them into your pocket. Do not use as a coaster. They cut the cards with precision lasers, but no lasers are included in your purchase. (Add lasers to your cards, guys!) They are a bit too showy to use in a business context, although the one with a cup of coffee is a nice try. (For thank you cards after business meetings, I prefer plain blank off-white cards that don’t even say “Thank you” on the front.)

They pop. I haven’t had this kind of great reaction to a gift wrap concept since I made little origami animals out of paper and put them on gifts I was giving away one Xmas.

I like the one where a giant squid is attacking a boat. And the spooky one where a tree comes to life and is about to eat a cat in one bite. I’m not so fond of “dead eyes possibly on meth or possessed by Satan” teddy bear, but it has a certain Grandma appeal, I’m sure. But you’ve gotta check out the shark and the fancy lobster on their website. They have a whole suite of holiday-themed cards, including romantic cards with bouquets. One of the cards features a “love bed”, which I guess is supposed to hint at sex.

They’re pretty great. I think I may have an unhealthy obsession. But it’s cool. It’s not a problem. I can stop anytime I want to. Now just one more gift card…

Check them out at www.lovepopcards.com.