Sunday, December 6, 2015
Sending cards and greetings to family and friends has been a holiday tradition my entire life. It is a holiday tradition our parents shared as we grew up.
I love getting the colorful cards in the mail as so many contain notes and letters from people who have been a part of our lives in many places. Even the letter carrier looks for the one from Dolly Kalerak, a real Eskimo, who lives in Alaska but winters in Hawaii. We save the cards from year to year and enjoy the letters a second time, trying to answer any questions that were posed last year.
I also breathe a sigh of relief when none of ours come back marked "addressee unknown" or "decreased" by the post office. At our age, I know, it is to be expected, but still it blights the season.
A long time ago the jottings of what's been happening were called "bread and butter" notes and were an important part of a Southern education. These past years I've gone back to writing the notes by hand hoping all the recipients will be able to read my handwriting, as over the years it has gotten rather frail.
The custom of sending cards is very young in terms of holiday traditions, a bit over 100 years old. The first cards were printed in London, England in 1843. Thirty-one years later (1874) Louis Prang began producing cards in America. These simple cards featured owls, birds, and animals and carried brief messages like, "It's a poor heart that never rejoices." Later the famous Currier & Ives company began issuing their classic scenes of New England winters with horses and sleighs.
This card illustration is Barbara Appleby's take on one of the delightful owls in a snowstorm card from the Wirths Bros. & Owen company. We thank her for the rush production as she managed to get the essence of the card from my description.
We invite you to join us by sending cards and notes to friends and family. A card in the mailbox is a signal to let the celebrations begin, just like a Christmas parade. They only come once a year.