Pictured above is one of the oldest Christmas cards known. It was printed in 1843 in England. 1000 of these cards were printed and only 10 remain. One of them is in the Birdwell Library at SMU. The card was controversial, at the time, because it showed a child taking a drink of wine. Of course, cards are still controversial because they contain the name of Christ whose birth we celebrate. Like so many of our traditions, the Christmas Card was started in England. The English had a custom of writing notes to their friends at Christmas and the Christmas card became a way to do it.
I’m glad the English started this custom. I love to receive cards and anxiously await the time to go to the post office, each day in December, to see who may have remembered me. I especially like the ones with notes about people’s activities during the year. The notes are very special if they are personal. The notes can sometimes be too long and extend to several pages. Copies of these epistles are sent to everyone and contain information about how brilliant the kids are and about exotic and expensive vacations. I still read every word. We have considered sending shocking, outrageous, and confabulated stories to get everyone’s attention and let us know who is actually reading our notes.
We cherish our family and grandkids more than anything on the planet, so we usually send a picture of what we label as the cousins. We sometimes send a very short note describing the main events for us from the year. Sometimes, I will leave a little tid bit of information like my e-mail address or the address of my blog. When friends later ask if I could give them the address for the blog, it’s obvious they didn’t read my card. I suspect most people only look at the name of the person who sent the card and read nothing else. Most folks probably don’t read the great verses on the card. I like to read everything and my partner often reads the verse to me because it’s so great. Some big businesses send out a card to a faceless audience of unknowns. That’s the only card I don’t usually read.
I love the cards with a little personal hand written note and ones with a picture of the family or a favorite subject. Reading and rereading those cars provides some of the happiest and most entertaining time on the porch. It sure beats watching the TV and the news.