My hand cramps and I grow tired of repeating the same message. I refuse to cave into creating a form letter, so I still handwrite Christmas greeting cards. What have I learned about his holiday ritual?
My attitude determines how this practice either blesses me or drags me into the hole of too much to do during the holidays.
So each year I try to organize early and write about ten cards a day. The key ingredient is prayer. As I begin the card, I pray for the recipient and then seal it with prayer also. Calming balm for my attitude and I hope healing comfort for my friends.
One story about the origin of Christmas Card, which originated in England over 150 years ago, tells that Sir Henry Cole wanted to send greeting to those he knew for the purpose of encouraging his friends to help the destitute during this holiday. He commissioned John Calcott Horesley to paint the first commercial Christmas card showing the feeding and clothing of the poor.
The initial reaction to the distribution of Christmas cards was not very favorable. Some critics claimed Horsley’s card was too secular, and accused him of encouraging intemperance and alcoholism. Others criticized the idea of cards as a foolish extravagance. (Some still think that today)
I laughed when I read that legend has it Cole didn’t send any cards the following year, but the custom started anyway. The photo on today’s post shows that first card. Note the young child is also drinking wine – a controversial statement for sure and maybe why Cole quit sending cards. Ha!
· Nearly 2 billion Christmas cards are sold in the U.S. each year
· Cards were sent by 85% of Americans in 2006. Hallmark estimates that 1.5 billion paper cards will be sent this year. Sounds like a lot, but actually this is a decrease from previous years’ numbers of 2 billion.
· President Eisenhower issued the first official White House Christmas card in 1953. By the year 1961, the White House was sending out 2000 cards. By 2005, that number had risen to over 1.4 million.
· For every three holiday cards purchased and sent, one has a religious message.
· The 1950s introduced humor. Santa was pictured as a couch potato watching television on one card. On a card whose message was “Peace on Earth,” Santa had nuclear missiles over his head.
· An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place
· Victorian Christmas cards were considerably more elaborate than today’s, often adorned with layers of lace, silk fringes, tassels, ribbons, dried flowers, satin, or mother of pearl. Some were glass frosted. One surviving Victorian card consisted of 750 pieces of material stitched together.
· Christmas beats Valentine’s Day as the biggest card-sending holiday.
· The use of e-mailed cards of all kinds — marking birthdays, Mother’s Day and other events increased 23 percent in 2006 and is expected to grow more each year.
The Most Expensive Christmas Card
The answer to this question takes us back to our history story. The most expensive Christmas card was one of the original Sir Henry Cole cards. It sold at an auction in the UK in 2001 for the equivalent of 40,000 U. S. dollars.
Blessing or Chore?
Christmas cards – a chore or a blessing? Call me old fashioned and traditional, but this is a holiday ritual I still like to do. With prayer sweetening my attitude and warm thoughts of friends and family this time of year – taking the time and making the effort for this annual mailing adds joy to the season.
Do you send cards? If so, why do you do this each year?
Call me old-fashioned too, Jeanie!
Amanda Stephan says
Thanks for the Trivia ~ very interesting.
And yes, we send out cards every year, but none of them are worth $40,000 dollars! I’ll never look at Christmas cards the same again…
Jean Wise says
Michelle you sure beat the average number of cards! 120 , wow. I do love reading the form letters though and especially like it when they add a sentence in actual handwriting on the bottom. Really is convenient. and love that your have a 5 year ‘helper”. yes others really do appreciate hearing from us.
I LOVE your Christmas card ritual, Jean. You amaze me — a prayer for each recipient. You are such a blessing to so many. I’ve never thought of praying while I write my cards, but it is a lovely, lovely idea.
I do send cards — about 120/year. But I do the dreaded form letter, so it’s a little easy on the hand. And I have a 5-year-old helper who stamps — this year I had to peel off several stamps from the wrong side of the envelope! I sort of dread the whole process…but I know my friends and family far away do appreciate hearing from us at least once a year (most of them live in New England, while we are now in Nebraska).
Jean Wise says
Nice meeting a new friend on here today. Yes I do think we do love getting the cards too and know that others are thinking of us. I think the connecting with people even if only once a year is important.
Yes, I do send cards, tho’ each year it seems less and less. But I do love getting them. If I write them with a prayer, it would be more of an event. Thanks Jeanie!
Hello new friend! I just stopped by my blog and read your comment. Thank you it’s a pleasure to meet you.
Hubby has told me to get off the internet now as I broke the front door earlier when I tried to open it…it was iced up…and now he needs a hand to mend it. No more blog reading for today but look forward to visiting you again often.
I am following on network blogs now too.
Hi I’ve stumbled across your lovely blog and I now am your latest follower and admirer.
I am only sending a few cards this year with all the news of our family over the last year. I find more and more people are barely able to sign the card as they have so many to write. don’t really agree with that.
Please feel free to drop by my blog and follow if you wish.
Carol from http://www.facing50withhumour.blogspot.com
Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says
I’m not a regular card sender, but I’m doing it this year. Hopefully I’ll get into a rhythm with it. I do think it’s a nice gesture to friends and family.