Thursday, 16 December 2010

What a Card

It's been a busy old time in the last week with evenings out, some for work, some for leisure, some for pleasure leaving not a lot of time for me to sit and relax. The Christmas cards are arriving thick and fast from friends and relatives, some whom I haven't seen for donkey's years, but with whom friendship is never the less still valuable.

My youngest son is back from University for the Christmas break - welcome home. He has his budgies to take to the vets to get their nails clipped and the Christmas tree to put up tomorrow. I just wonder how the cats will cope with it? (Or rather, how we'll cope with them not coping with it!)

I wondered when a card popped through the post from the Royal Mail saying I had to pick up this letter from the sorting office what was so valuable that they couldn't deliver it when no-one was in.

Needless to say, my good friend will get a ribbing that I had to pay £1.19 because of the peculiar size of the envelope, I had to pay extra because he hadn't paid enough - for his Christmas card stamp. It was lovely to hear from him and his dear wife.

I thought I'd look up the history of Christmas cards and was not surprised that it's western society and in Asia that cards are sent, even by those who are not Christians. Surprisingly however, the tradition only goes back to 1843 when the first commercial Christmas card was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London, and courtesy of Wikipedia - here it is:

This was illustrated by John Callcott Horsley and they printed over 2,000 cards selling at one shilling each (today - 5 pence). At auction in 2001, one of these cards fetched over £22,000.

Ironically, the card drew some controversy for showing a child drinking wine and some of the early English cards depicted fairies and flowers depicting the oncoming Spring rather than a celebration of Christianity and the birth of Christ.

Although I haven't got any statistics for the UK, in the USA, in 2005, it is estimated that 1.9 billion cards were sent! There is a decline in sending cards as e-cards are becoming more popular.

I've copied this paragraph from the Wikipedia site which illustrates how important recycling cards is in the UK.

"All recycled cards help raise money to plant more trees. In the 12 years that the Woodland Trust Christmas Card Recycling Scheme has been running, more than 600 million cards have been recycled. This has enabled the Woodland Trust to plant more than 141,000 trees, save over 12,000 tonnes of paper from landfill and stop over 16,000 tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere – the equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road for a year."

Well, there's an incentive for us to recycle paper and cards.

The snow is flirting with us, a few flakes today and now a bitterly cold northerly wind and ice and frost. No snow for us until Saturday and this time the west of the country, who escaped the previous snow will now get their share.

Next week I'll be dusting off my copy of the Christmas Carol by Dickens that I've read every year (without missing a year) for the last 35 odd years at this time of the year finishing it off usually on Christmas Eve. Apparently a famous BBC Radio breakfast presenter does the same - copy-cat!

Keep warm and safe wherever you are in this wonderful world of ours.

Chat soon



  1. I love the idea of re reading a Christmas Carol, what a great thing to do xx

  2. Hi Auntie - I'm an old sentimentalist - it just gives me a real glow.

  3. It's lovely to know that all the cards can be recycled and help to plant more trees.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and keep warm, RLS

  4. Sad to say, Christmas cards are our biggest chore. Because my husband travels all over the world and he is a very gregarious creature we have usually sent cards and that oh so infamous Christmas letter that everyone complains about. This year we combined the card and the letter. We sent out over 130. I may be a minority but I love Christmas letters. I save them separately from cards and read them all again when things have settled down after Christmas. Sometimes this is the only way we get news from our oldest and dearest friends.
    I think I want to institute a new tradition in our family and that is attend a performance of The Messiah.

  5. Hi Jarmara - yes it's good news about the recycling bit, imagine if everyone did it?
    Have a great Christmas break.

    Hi ChrisJ
    I know exactly what you mean about the task; I steel myself for it for weeks, but once I get going it's not too bad. I have never seen the Messiah - it would be a great tradition.