Category Archives: Garfield

“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning”… of Seasonal Cards

Standard

I love the first six words of this title, does anyone know why? It refers

to a famous song that has recently been remade by Carrie Underwood… I

will tell you the answer at the end of this post!

When Henry Cole, a London businessman decided to create the first Christmas

card, he is given credit for this undertaking in 1843. He originated this

card idea to his fellow business connections. Then, three years later,

it became a tradition or custom having spread itself around in big circles.

During English postal reform, 1846, this cost only one penny to send a

Christmas card to someone.

The very first card was commissioned by Henry Cole to the designer/artist,

John Calcott Horsley, of the Royal Academy of Arts (Fine Arts). There were

three panels on this first select card, two panels that held two of the

oldest Christmas traditions. These are also British in origin, “Feeding

the Hungry” and “Clothing the Needy.” In the middle of this tri-fold

card were the simple words, “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to You.”

This message is still one of the most popular ones, on Christmas cards, of

all time. The Hallmark Historical Collection of Cards has only two copies

of the “First Christmas Card,” along with over 100,000 printed artifacts

from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

When researching this lovely subject, which gives me special memories of

different styles, I learned that the cards do reflect the current times.

During the Depression years, there were American flags and wishes or

hopes for “better times.” During the War Periods, the words “Across the

Miles” and “Missing You,” became quite popular.

During the more modern “Cold War times” there was an increase of sharpened

wit and a wider demand for more humorous Christmas cards.

Throughout all years, the most popular Christmas card of all time would

be one with angels or the Nativity scene. The Baby Jesus in a Manger is

a sight that means so much to the Christians that are celebrating the

birthday of the Son of God.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the designs reflected the times again, with

Flower Children, Peace Symbols and the First Manned Moon Landing. The

creative artists worked the Christmas message into the designs. I seem

to remember during this period of time, my parents ordering their

Christmas cards from UNICEF. One particular card’s design had the Peace

dove with its olive branch and the words, “Peace on Earth” on the outside

and the enclosed message being: “Goodwill to Men. Happy New Year.”

In the early 1980’s, a surge for a new sports-oriented society drove the

card designers or artists to depict Santa in a jogging suit with running

shoes on. This was our “fitness craze” beginning! I remember the cards

that my parents received including a relaxed Santa and a reindeer on the

beach in an old-fashioned red longjohn looking bathing suit. Maybe my

memory is playing tricks on that one! Ha Ha! There have been cards with

such product placement as Coca Cola or Budweiser beers, maybe some

other countries had ales or liquor, as in a toast given to celebrate

the upcoming New Year. Of course, there are the popular children’s

cartoon characters and current animated movies that make it on the

annual Christmas cards being sent out.

There have also, throughout the television era, (which it is still

going on, right?) “spoofs” on the T.V. shows and commercials were

worked into the Christmas card department! With new innovations, and

different accessibilities being included, there are certainly Braille

Christmas and other holiday cards to be purchased. I know the man down

the hallway, David, told me he cherishes “hearing” from his blind friends

he made in the Columbus School for the Blind. He also appreciates his

family members who order these special cards. He has an orange cat who

likes to try to sneak into my apartment that I told David he reminds

me of Garfield! I asked him if he had any residual eyesight when he

was younger, he answered he loved Garfield in the Sunday comics

when he was in elementary school. He is “nearly blind” he says but

is able to tap his way around the apartment building using his cane

and has a woman who comes in to help him once a week, doing his

laundry and she (Linda) put up a Christmas tree for him. I peeked

in and told him when he gets a Braille card to please bring it

down, since I had struggled with that course while in the Master’s

program at OSU. (I have an A average but received a “C-” in this

course, due to not being able to go beyond Elementary level in

my typing Braille. That heavy typewriter and taking the tests

in Braille, was almost the “death of me!”

The various holidays celebrated around the world have been shown in our

Christmas cards. My cousin, Heather, married a Jewish man in the 90’s,

so from that point on, we sent both a Christian card and a Jewish one

celebrating Hanukkah. My parents also had friends, the Lezbergs, from

when I was in third grade through their retirement, who received the

general box of holiday card, that was before the Jewish individual

cards were bought for Jerry, Heather’s husband and then, one sent

to Dad’s good NASA friend, Herb, and his family. I am not sure if

there is a timeline for when Kwanzaa cards came into being, I did

not see this in the articles I read. I am sure there is a historical

reference somewhere for this!

I wonder, as some of my friends have recently discussed this subject,

will technology take away the fun and custom of sending Christmas

cards? I know you can send e-cards and email family newsletters.

There are also, “walls” on Facebook, where you can post a general

“Happy Holidays” or “Enjoy the Festivities!”

But, I hope and truly believe there will be some of us that will

still buy the boxes of Christmas cards, sit down and address them,

write a personal message, possibly write a family newsletter,

copy this off to send in numbers or like I do, write each family

a personal note on Christmas decorated stationery. Which I enclose

in each of the cards I send off with Christmas stamps and little

seasonal stickers sealing them closed. Do you know why it is worth

the effort? To me it is so special and I get teary-eyed to see

the letters and cards coming to me. I feel like I am having a

“visit” with them, different from the phone calls and the

hurried notes that sometimes get written on birthday and

Easter cards.

There is something “magical” about Christmas

cards, or is it my age?

What do you think about this age-old tradition? Is it

going “by the wayside?”

I will make one more appeal or declaration Why it should

not be discontinued, this holiday tradition has managed

to “weather the storms” of wars, economic hard times, and

social changes, including more cultural beliefs and

embracing the changes.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, those six words start the

song, “Do Re Mi” from “The Sound of Music!” I feel that

Carrie Underwood did a sweet, innocent portrayal of a

nun who falls for Captain Von Trapp. She sang every bit

as well as Julie Andrews and I know this is almost

“blasphemous,” but I enjoyed it better than any other

portrayal of Maria. This is also, a true story, which I

read while in elementary school and my Grandmother Mattson,

who came to America from Germany, encouraged me to read.

It is okay if you are on a totally opposite side from my

way of thinking or have a different take on this custom of

exchanging cards… Really, it is!

Let me know!

Hugs to All and no stamp needed!