Oh Christmas Cards, Where Art Thou?

Today is December 18th, and so far I’ve received, sigh, far more Christmas cards than I’ve sent. I’ll admit that I’m behind in getting my cards out, but I’m afraid that many of my friends and family have abandoned a tradition that has been around since 1843.

That was the year Sir Henry Cole commissioned John Calcott Horsley to paint this card showing the feeding and clothing of the poor. Sir Henry, an inventor, writer, and founder of the two museums from which the Victoria and Albert Museum grew, had so many Christmas greetings to send handwriting each was impossible. Sir Henry’s mass produced card began a tradition that continues today. According to Hallmark, Christmas is the largest card-sending holiday in the United States with approximately 1.5 billion cards sent annually. Many Americans also include a Christmas letter and family photo inside their cards.

In our era of social media, email, and picture messaging, I’m afraid many have replaced the mailed Christmas card with a one dimensional pixel post. It’s only my opinion, but there is no comparison.  After all I can’t display an e-card on my mantle and the alert on my email doesn’t compare to the joy of discovering a colorful envelope hand-addressed to me amidst the bills in my mailbox. Can your text offer a holiday scent (I’ve mailed a few needles from my tree), a fun confetti, or a surprise gift? I don’t think so!

Richard Armour, a popular American poet and literary critic wrote, “You cannot reach perfection though you try however hard to there’s always one more friend or so you should have sent a card to.”  It’s not too late. Grab a colorful pen and send out a few cards. This is one tradition I plan on keeping.

Merry Christmas,

Jo Rae

(Nothing like my signature, but it’s the best I can do online!)


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