What about Christmas cards?

Once again it’s time to decorate for Christmas. And once again our decorations will be very simple.
In contrast to my good pool-friend Pat, I like simple.
Pat lives in a beautiful 19th-century Victorian house and she decorates it elegantly. Pat works on decorating for days–multiple trees and many ornaments from the era.
But, as I said, I like simple!
A real tree with lights and a very few well-chosen ornaments, a garland of green on the stairway railing, a hand-carved nativity from the “Holy Land,” a wreath on the front porch, and a welcoming red bow on the lamp post out front.
That’s it! It takes about two hours!
Except for one more thing. For years, I placed a generous basket in front of the fireplace–a place where we could toss our many Christmas cards as they arrived. In recent years, however, the generous basket seems too large.
Actually, we don’t need a basket at all!
Only a very few of our faithful friends and family still remember us at Christmas with cards. They always update us about their activities, and we’re delighted.
As much as we enjoy receiving cards, we haven’t sent them for years. It seemed my Christmas cards always were sent after Christmas—and often after the New Year.
So instead of suffering embarrassment, I finally quit entirely!
The custom of sending Christmas cards is a very old one, started in England in the middle of the 19th century.
Sir Henry Cole was an enterprising businessman who saw the potential of the new public postal system. In 1843, Cole joined with artist John Horsley and printed an initial batch of 1,000 cards.
And the custom of sending Christmas cards was born.
The original card was elegant but somewhat controversial. One of the three picture panels showed a family sharing a sumptuous Christmas dinner and sharing a glass of wine with a child!
However, the card also included a picture of people giving charity to the poor in the Christmas season.
All it all, it turned out to be very popular and a tradition was begun.
Christmas cards were introduced in the United States in the late 1840s. But, unfortunately, only the rich could afford them.
The first affordable card in the United States was created in 1875 by a German-born printer who had worked in the industry in England. His name was Louis Prang.
Prang’s cards mostly featured flowers and children. And his mass-produced cards became very popular.
Soon, there were many competitors.
But the biggest of all card companies was started in 1915 by John C. Hall and two of his brothers–Hallmark Cards. And we all thought that Christmas cards were here to stay.
But that was a century ago. Now it’s different. At least at our house, Christmas cards are a thing of the past.
Today, many of us keep in touch with friends through digital media. But somehow it’s not quite the same. I miss that big basket of beautiful greetings that I could read and re-read at my leisure.
I’m not quite ready to call for a return of old-fashioned Christmas cards. But it’s something to think about.
Did we lose something substantial when we stopped being in touch with friends and family–in hard copy–at least once a year?
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@cox.net

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail