Cards and Letters

Remember getting glitter decorated Christmas cards in the mail? Or perhaps you are one of those “old fashion” type person who still enjoys sending a Merry Christmas message to family and friends. For over a century people have sent the once a year letter and Christmas message to friends and family, especially if they lived beyond visiting distance.

The first Christmas card was created by Henry Cole and J.C. Horsley in 1943 according to the Smithsonian Magazine. I first learned of the first Christmas card while watching a show, “Victorian England” on Netflix. One episode went into the history of the Christmas card, or what we would term a postcard. The first Christmas card was created to ease the work of writing a letter in response to letters written to Henry Cole. It was considered very rude of a person to not respond to a letter they had received. Henry Cole being very busy, yet not wanting to be rude was struggling with writing letters. Henry Cole developed an idea of a picture on stiff cardboard to send in place of a handwritten letters. J.C. Horsley created the picture, they had it printed and the first Christmas card was invented.

I was raised with the tradition of sending a card before Christmas to every family member and friend wishing them Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I have kept this tradition and my children have followed with keeping the tradition as well.

Today, we could just send an email for a newsletter, or a text message saying Merry Christmas. But there is something special when a person receives a card, with a handwritten message inside. The card shows time and thought was taken to send a simple gift of a card. Receiving the card makes the person feel special and not alone. We can read a message in a text. We can read, touch and smell the message in a card.

Each year, I send Christmas cards with a letter telling of the year’s events to family and friends. I used to write a short summary of the year in each card. About ten years ago I stopped writing the summary inside the card as I was getting writer’s cramp. I opted for a computer generated, decorative letter to place inside each card I send. I still hand sign all the cards. Thirty years ago I would send out fifty to sixty cards a year ( now you can understand the writer’s cramp), taking me a week to complete the task. Today, I finished addressing, signing and getting ready to mail thirty cards. Years have taken names and address out of the Christmas card list.

This year I had big ambitions of creating Victorian style Christmas cards to send instead of purchasing cards. I was able to create ten cards for family and friends. I punched holes in lines to form an outline of the object being created. During Victorian times, this was an inexpensive method used by the lower classes to send Christmas cards.

The instrument I used to punch the many holes per card is a tool used in quilling paper. One end is needle like, allowing me to punch holes through the paper. The other end is used to make shapes using stripes of paper called quilling. It is a long process of punching holes to create a card.

With time running short, I did purchase some Christmas cards to send to family and friends. I wanted them to receive a card, even if it was not handmade. Next year I will get the handmade cards done, hopefully to be mailed.


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