Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Cards

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.  Don’t you just love this time of year – the crisp weather, the holiday gatherings, folks in a thankful, giving frame of mind, festive decorations, the airwaves filled with carols and Christmas movies – it’s truly joy-filled!

One of the things I usually do the week after Thanksgiving is begin addressing Christmas cards to send out.  This year I got to wondering about how and when that particular custom originated and decided to do a little research on the topic.

I was delighted to discover that the first person to commission a commercial Christmas card was an author.  Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882), using the pseudonym Felix Summerly, wrote children’s books in addition to handbooks and articles on a wide variety of topics. But writing wasn’t his only passion. Sir Henry was a member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers, and Commerce, was instrumental in the development of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and he is credited with the design of the world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black.  He also designed the Felix Summerly Tea Service, an award winning design that was produced by the Herbert Minton ceramic Factory.


Because of his various interests, and high level of success, Sir Henry became a popular and exceedingly busy man. It was custom in his day to hand write letters of Christmas greetings, and to respond to everyone received with a personal missive as well. But in 1843, at the height of his popularity, Sir Henry knew he just wasn’t going to have time to meet this particular obligation. So he hit on an idea to simplify the process. He commissioned a London artist named J. C. Horsley to design a card for him based on an image idea he had. Sir Henry then took the illustration and carried it to a printer who created 1000 copies on stiff cardboard. Sir Henry then mailed these out to his family and friends in lieu of handwritten missives. Those he didn’t use for himself he sold for a shilling a piece. 
Here is what they look like.



It's estimated that there are a little over a dozen of these cards still around today and they have become quite the collector’s item.  In 2013 one of these cards sold for over $6,800!


So what about you – do you send out Christmas cards? (I have to admit that there have been years when I let the busy-ness overwhelm me and let that tradition slide). Do you prefer funny, sentimental, spiritual or homey type cards? Do you select custom cards for each recipient or pick one you love and send it to everyone? Leave a comment below and I’ll enter you in a drawing for winner’s choice of one of the two Christmas books I have out this year.

ONCE UPON A TEXAS CHRISTMAS

Partners for the Holidays 
Abigail Fulton is determined to find independence in Turnabout, Texas—and becoming manager of the local hotel could be the solution. But first, she must work with Seth Reynolds to renovate the property by Christmas—and convince him she's perfect for the job. If only he hadn't already promised the position to someone else… 
Ever since his troubled childhood, Seth yearns to prove himself. And this hotel is his best chance. But what does someone like Abigail know about decor and furnishings? Yet the closer the holiday deadline gets, the more he appreciates her abilities and her kindness. His business ambitions require denying Abigail's dearest wish, but can they put old dreams aside for a greater gift—love and family?




CHRISTMAS ROSES Anthology

Come visit a place where love blooms and holiday magic fills the air…

There’s no better gift than finding love among the roses. In this collection, you’ll find second chances at love, couples who find more than friendship under the mistletoe, and holiday reunions that bring the joy of the season.

 Set against the background of the Gardens of the American Rose Center, these stories are sure to warm your heart and put you in a festive mood, so grab a cup of hot cocoa and curl up with Christmas Roses.




17 comments:

  1. Winnie, thanks for sharing the history of the Christmas card. Don't you love it that in this day of technology, people still send cards. I know I do.

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    1. You're welcome Mary. And yes, finding cards from friends and loved ones in my mailbox always warms my heart

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  2. I loved the history of the Christmas card! I have sent cards even on my busiest years. Receiving cards is a joy of the season. Even better when there's a note or newsletter inside. Yes, I love the much-maligned newsletters too.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post! And I agree about the newsletters - so fun to read.

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  3. Love the info, Winnie. And Sir Henry Cole looks Amish to me...no mustache. Great picture. :)

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    1. LOL - he does have that look about him, doesn't he?

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  4. I send cards every year. Sometimes they are a little late. Thanks for giving us the history behind the Christmas card.

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    1. You're quite welcome! And I hear you on being late sometimes- I've been guilty of that on more than one occasion!

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  5. How interesting! Thanks for sharing the history of Christmas cards, Winnie! I love the photo cards that are popular now and ordered mine this week. I especially like to receive Christmas notes that provide a bit of information about friends and family. Yes, we keep in contact with some friends via Facebook but the Christmas notes and newsletters provide a personal touch that always warms my heart!

    Sunday marks the beginning of Advent...with our countdown to Christmas! Wishing you a joyous time of preparation as we anticipate the birth of the Christ Child.

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    1. Hi Debby. Glad you liked the post. And I agree about the heart-warming part - it's like getting a little hug each time you open one up

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  6. I love history. Thanks for the insight into this tradition. I am bad about getting cards out anymore but I love to get them.

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    1. You're quite welcome Patricia - thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Very cool. Thanks for sharing. I do both depending on the year. I’m not good about sending out cards.

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    1. Hi Terri - you're quite welcome. And I think we've all been guilty from time to time of letting busyness get in the way...

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  8. I love to send cards but each year it gets harder to find the time and to keep up with addresses. But I enjoy picking certain cards for certain people and now that I live near the coast, I try to find beach-themed cards. But as social media takes over, I have a feeling sending cards will become a rare tradition! Thanks for the history and the reminder of why i love this tradition!

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    1. Oh Lenora, I hope not. I think Christmas cards are one of the few handwritten forms of communication to survive this digital age and it would be a shame to lose it too. Hope you and Don are enjoying a great holiday season.

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