* In the Cards: If you couldn't resist a Christmas card this year with something warm like a teddy bear on it, you're not alone. This, in the greeting card business, is being called "The Year of the Teddy Bear."
People, claims Gary Smith, executive vice president of the National Association of Greeting Card Publishers, are "definitely" choosing nostalgic, comforting cards. "We're all aware of the economic situation, and it's as if they're reaching out to each other and saying, 'I'm okay . . . are you okay?' " Although Smith concedes a downward trend of Christmas card sales in recent years, both because of their cost and that of postage, he's seeing "a very strong surge" this year. "Maybe," he muses, "people are forsaking gifts and sending a card instead, as at least one thing they can afford."
* In the Book: If you really want to get nostalgic, consider Sears catalogues of 50 Christmases past. In 1933, the country's largest retailer offered such gifts as an electric train for $1.69, "guaranteed to weigh a full 6 pounds"; the "perfect gift robe," orange velveteen, $5.95; five-room dollhouse with metal furniture, $1.98; bicycle with "the new balloon-type tires that have revolutionized bike-riding," $30.95; the latest novel,"Grand Hotel," 67 cents, hardcover.
* Booked: "I would suggest another important source for parents in search of titles for their teen-age readers: junior and senior high school library media specialists," writes Elizabeth S. Harwood, who happens to be a library media specialist at Surrattsville Junior High School, Prince George's County Public Schools.
"The school library media specialist works with young adults, handling their requests that usually come with the question, 'What have you got that's good to read?' Call the local school(s) and ask to speak with the library personnel," suggests Harwood. "A request for recommended titles should be gladly fulfilled."
* Toy Soldiers: More kids, according to manufacturers, are asking for military toys this year. "They came back on the strength of Reagan's reemphasis on military preparedness and the wars in Lebanon and the Falklands," says Jerry Fishel of Fishel Toys Ltd.
* Cashing Out: Methodist minister Mike Shannon-Thornberry, Forest Park, Ga., is determined to help people "resist commercialism and emotional exploitation at Christmastime" with Alternative Lifestyles Inc., a national organization he formed nine years ago.
To point out the "abuse" of the season, Alternatives sponsors an annual "Best and Worst Christmas Gift." Last year's "worst" was the Little People Doll, which advertised itself as "the carefree way to love" (for $125). "We don't have anything against dolls," says Shannon-Thornberry, "but this doll was billed as a substitute for human affection." Last year's "best": a specially created dinner for seven, presented to an elderly woman and her friends.
To submit an entry: Alternatives, P.O. Box 1707, Forest Park, Ga. 30051.
* Super: Atlanta psychiatrist and mental health researcher Dr. Alfred A. Messer has declared that another holiday in mid-January might help people avoid the letdown. The Super Bowl, to some extent, helps fill the bill. "I think that's the reason for its popularity."