Tuesday, October 21, 2014

christmas countdown (week 9: christmas cards)

First mass-produced Christmas card (1843).
please don't hate me for going all wal-mart on you and shoving christmas down your throat before your kids have ODed on their halloween candy.

it's just that according to the official Christmas Countdown, we've got 9 weeks until the big day. that's sort of crazy and terrifying all at the same time and i always wait too long to start thinking about christmas logistics and i promised myself that THIS YEAR, i'd be ahead of the game.

i also really just wanted an excuse to drool over pinterest christmas pins, if we're being perfectly honest.

i wanted to turn this christmas countdown into a weekly thing on Wednesdays (because Christmas Eve is my absolute FAVORITE day of the year) and i figured i could pick a theme each week.


oh man, do we love christmas cards. my mom always displayed them on ribbons or archways in our house and it's something i try to replicate every year. even the years we don't get many christmas cards (boo on those years!)

it's a bit of a tradition for us to write out and mail the cards the first week of december and then we sit back and we wait for them to trickle back to us. did i mention we love christmas cards???

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each. (about 8 cents today).

The first cards usually had pictures of the Nativity scene on them. In late Victorian times, robins and snow-scenes became popular. In those times the postmen were nicknamed 'Robin Postmen' because of the red uniforms they wore. 
Christmas cards appeared in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn't afford them. It 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from Germany but who had also worked on early cards in the UK, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. Mr Prang's first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest card makers today.
our family cards vary year to year, but i always try to make sure the words "merry christmas" are on them. i'm not a huge fan of the watered-down "seasons greetings." call me old fashioned...
last year, i ordered original cards from one of my favorite folk artists, Audrey Eclectic. she takes pre-orders for them until Oct. 31 and you usually get an assortment of the prints she chose for the year. last year i ordered a scandinavian-inspired print with a saint lucia girl (candle wreath on her head and all) and i loved them so much. if the money is right by the end of the month, i'll probably order from her again.
some years we love snowmen, some years it's all about santa. we had a nutcracker year, too. i hate to admit it, but i get a little giddy when i see the christmas card displays go up...even when they're up in september.
here are some of my favorites:

...happy happy happy...

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