Sending Christmas Greetings

How did you get on with sending your Christmas cards?  Perhaps you don’t send cards, or, like me, you have a list that is getting a little shorter each year and still you race to catch the post.

The first commercial card was initiated by civil servant Sir Henry Cole in 1843.  He decided he hadn’t time to hand write individual messages and got an artist friend, John Horsley to design a card for him.  A thousand copies of the lithograph were printed and sold for a shilling each.  The card is a triptych, with a larger picture in the centre panel showing a family celebration and the side panels depicting the charitable acts of feeding and clothing the poor. Apparently Sir Henry was in trouble with the Temperance Movement for having  alcohol depicted on the card.

So what pictures do I want on my cards?  Bethlehem and the stable? Birds and animals in the winter landscape?  Villagers in the snow with the church lights glowing and the robed choir singing carols round a tree? Perhaps a selection so I can choose a card  appropriate to each family, relative or friend.  But that takes time and the last posting date is coming up!  What about a family photo Christmas card?   It’s a way of keeping personal contact and saves having to make choices about what card is appropriate for whom.  That would speed things up.

Another question: Am I going to write a Christmas letter?  If so what shall I say?  Everyone else’s family seems to be so successful and so perfect.  How come our children didn’t complete university and aren’t all in high powered jobs? I’ll leave it – again – this year.  I’ll just concern myself with how I sign off the card.  Is it ‘Best wishes’, or ‘Love’, or both?  And do I put a kiss?  Is that too intimate, especially if I haven’t been in contact for a year.  Perhaps I should just send everyone an email or a text.  Ah, but remember what that predictive text wrote last year:  ‘Have a lonely Christmas’.  One letter can make all the difference.

Chris Dawson

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