Monday, December 22, 2008

Blessed Christmas

Today at last, I got my meager offering of Christmas cards made and ready to send to the few people on my list.

I'm late, I know, and every year I'm late, (I know) and as usual, feel extremely bad about it.

I just don't get with the program in time to be a delight to those who like to receive a card in the mail.

I actually think about it around the 4th of July, and if I pursued it then, I could get them out on time.

But risk my Christmas cards getting stained with watermelon juice and potato salad blobs? I can't bring myself to it.

I am into Christmas up to my ears in every other area, but my cards are late (again) this year. Mine are handmade as I usually like to do, I feel they are artful and unique and I like to write some note to those that I send to. If you are on my list, you're special.

Well, thinking of cards, I happened across this article on the web somewhere and I wanted to share a little Christmas trivia.

Pictured on the left is the world's first commercial Christmas card.

The sending of commercially printed Christmas cards originated in London in 1843. Previously, people had exchanged handwritten holiday greetings, first in person, then via post.

In 1822, homemade Christmas cards had become a huge frustration to the U.S. postal system.

There were so many that year, the Superintendent of Mails in Washington, D.C., complained of the need to hire sixteen extra mailmen.

Fearful of future mail overload, he petitioned Congress to limit the exchange of cards by post, concluding, "I don’t know what we’ll do if it keeps on."

How times have changed.

The first mass produced Christmas card designed for sale was by London artist John Calcott Horsley, and is pictured above.

A respected illustrator of the day, Horsley was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, a wealthy British businessman, who wanted a card he could proudly send to friends and professional acquaintances to wish them a "merry Christmas."

Horsley produced a triptych.

Each of the two side panels depicted a good deed-clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.

The centerpiece featured a party of adults and children, with plentiful food and drink (and this card provoked severe criticism from the British Temperance Movement for picturing wine with children).

The first Christmas card’s inscription read: "merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you."

"Merry" was then a spiritual word meaning "blessed," as in "merry old England."

May you have a Blessed Merry Christmas!

Modern day card photos courtesy of:


littlethings1 said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog ! Love that your cards are just going out ! ME tooo ! I am always behind on things like that & every year I think I will get "better" !! Love the cards you featured & hope you have a blessed Christmas !
The Little Things

Kim Layton said...

That was a great post! I never knew that "merry" meant "blessed" at one time! You have a very nice blog!

Merry Christmas!

Follow me home for a dough giveaway!


Blog Archive