Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Giving Of Christmas Cards - A Wonderful Tradition!

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the wonderful tradition of giving and receiving Christmas Cards. I love Christmas Cards, especially if they are handmade or contain a handwritten note or letter.

Why? Because they are just such a joy to give and to receive. A way to wish your friends and family a happy holiday season, tell them what's happening in your life, and catch up on what is happening in their lives.

Sadly, however, Christmas Cards with personalized notes are becoming a long lost tradition. People just don't want or haven't the time anymore to write you a note. Sadly, some people don't even have the time to send you a card. I hope that doesn't happen as it could be the end of a beautiful tradition.

In this fast paced, no time for anything world traditions are important. Some Christmas Cards contain computerized notes informing everyone of what is happening with them and their families. In a computerized world this was bound to happen. This is fine. At least you can still keep in touch. And, it sure saves time for the sender.

In fact, I have to admit that this year will be the first year that I will be sending computerized notes. I usually spend a week handwriting all my cards, but this year, I just do not have the time. So, I will just have to enclose my computerized letter. I hope nobody minds.

However, there is something happening which is just wonderful and could become a lovely tradition all unto itself. The paper industry, scrapbook, and create your own cards industry is booming. It seems like everyone is into making your own cards. If you do this you can't send out as many as you do with boxed cards, but how delightful it would be to receive them.

This year I thought it would be nice to create all my Christmas cards myself. I found some Christmas card kits where the card has a sewn with material image and message contained within. I loved it and decided I'd join the millions of scrapbook enthusiasts who are making their own cards. I'm not a scrapbooker, but just love looking at all the products they have nowadays for card makers and scrapbookers. Unfortunately, this too will have to wait until next year. I just don't have the time. And, I'm not happy about that. However......

So, why do I love sending and receiving Christmas Cards? Because I love catching up with what is going on whether it's a handwritten note or a computerized letter. I cherish all the Christmas Cards that I have ever received with handwritten notes or computerized letters. For some of my friends this is the only correspondence that we have every year and it provides a way for us to stay in touch.

In fact, I have never thrown a Christmas Card with a handwritten note or computerized letter away. All of them are in my memory books (albeit I'm on Volume #32 now, but...). For someone like me who is getting older my memory books provide a means of looking back and remembering. The Christmas Cards provide the timeframe.

I know my family would be astonished by this, too. I have kept every single Birthday card, Valentine's Day card, Anniversary card, Christmas card, etc. that I have ever received from anyone since I was about 7 years old. It's so nice to be able to go back and look at the cards I received and what was said by my beautiful Step-Daughter, Grandmothers, Grandfather, Old Family Friends, and my Father, all of whom are no longer with us. Re-reading them always brings back such warm and cherished memories for me. I know, call me an old softie. I admit it.

I have to admit that some of my FAVORITE and most beautiful Christmas Cards that I have received have been from my niece. You see, she makes every single Christmas Card by hand. They are all elaborate, artistic creations she has designed and I cherish everyone of them.

Last year the card became a three dimensional ornament. Another year it contained a phrase from a John Lennon song. They are always beautiful, have exquisite detail and I love to receive them. I have spread pictures of them throughout this article so you can enjoy them too. She's probably going to kill me for doing this, but I'm such a proud Aunt. My niece is so talented I just had to show all of you. She can throttle me later.

So, since, we're coming into the Christmas Card giving season I thought it would be a nice idea to take a look at this Christmas tradition. Where did the tradition of giving Christmas Cards begin?

Well (surprise, surprise), it began in Victorian England in 1843, the same year that Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol." John C. Horsley is actually credited with this, but it was actually at the suggestion of his friend, Sir Henry Cole, that the first Christmas Card was created and published.

It seems that Sir Henry Cole was caught in the mad holiday rush (sound familiar) and was unable to send the traditional written Christmas message to his friends and associates. Instead he sent them an illustrated holiday greeting. The card was divided into three panels and was designed by his friend John C. Horsley. The main illustration showed the three elders at a party raising wine glasses in a toast the side panels showed two Yuletide traditions - feeding the hungry and clothing the needy. The message inside 150 years later is still the most popular greeting of all: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." Henry Cole's cards caused quite a stir. Back then you could send letters for just a penny each (can you imagine 1 penny!)

In the 1860's greeting card companies began appearing all over England. In 1846 Christmas Cards started in America, but didn't really take off until 1920 when advances in printing technology added to the popularity of Christmas Cards. That's also when the color red started being associated with Christmas.
Christmas Card giving is such a wonderful and lovely tradition. Sending warm holiday greetings is such a beautiful way to say

"A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You!"

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh.  Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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