If receiving Christmas cards was a hobby, it would be a hobby I’d embrace and never let go.
I’ve always preferred receiving Christmas cards to birthday cards. They’ve always been more important to me, but over the years have caused me a few dilemmas. Do you recognise any of these?
How to display Christmas cards
My parents always strung up Christmas cards along the longest wall in our lounge. I’d stand underneath the line and happily count them. And if any of the cards overlapped, I’d make it known so that they could be adjusted.
I wanted every Christmas card to give the same pleasure to visitors as I got out of them over the festive period.
These days, we display cards on a card rack. The overlapping doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it used to. However, I seem to give priority to those cards I see as more festive.
How do you display Christmas cards?
During my early schooling years, my class would send Christmas cards to each other. Back then, Christmas cards came in different sizes in one box. The first dilemma was trying to match the correct sized envelope to the right card.
Usually, you’d end up with a couple of cards that didn’t fit the envelopes you had left or, on rare occasions, have cards left with no envelopes to put them in.
These days, Christmas cards seem to come in packs and are all the same size, so the dilemma of matching envelopes with cards has gone.
In class, we’d make a pillar box out of cardboard, cotton wool, paints and some sticky-back plastic. We were all encouraged to post Christmas cards into the box, and on the last day before the Christmas holidays, our teacher would sort them and distribute them out.
I’d always be super excited to get a pile of cards with my name proudly written on the front of the envelopes. I’d open them all before rushing home to hang them up with the rest of the cards.
If there wasn’t enough room on the line, I had to wait patiently for my father to put up another line. Sometimes, this could take days to do, and I’d get very frustrated that my cards were not on display.
And heaven’s forbid if any of the lines of cards came down because of the sheer weight of cards on them. I’d be inconsolable.
After Christmas, I’d keep the cards I liked the most and make gift tags out of them for the following Christmas.
Did you send Christmas cards to your classmates?
The First Christmas Card
The first Christmas card was sent in 1843. Back then, there were no signs of robins, snow, Christmas stockings or Father Christmas on them. Most cards showed people drinking, eating and being merry.
It wasn’t until the 1870s that Christmas cards began to display some of the festive images we see today.
Back in the 1970s (when I was sending cards to those in my class), there were certain cards I loved. These include the ones I thought were associated with Christmas. Those showing scenes that included Father Christmas, Christmas stockings, robins, snow, and Christmas trees were my favourites.
And then there were cards I didn’t particularly like because I thought they had nothing to do with Christmas. These included ones with scenes of horse-drawn carriages, fox hunting, St Paul’s Cathedral, or a hand-drawn poinsettia.
My favourite classmates always got the cards I associated with Christmas. The classmates I didn’t bother with much (or those I didn’t like) got the boring ones. Back then, you could always tell who didn’t like you much from the type of card they sent you (or so I thought, anyway).
Step back to the early part of the 20th century, and some Christmas cards were like postcards. Many years ago, I picked up some on eBay. This one is my favourite.
Postmarked Dec 24th 1912, I love the humour on this postcard, although I’m not sure it would go down well these days. What do you think?
I can’t make out the postmark on this postcard, but the stamp on it tells me it’s from the U.S.A.
And here’s another early one from the U.S.A, postmarked Dec 23rd 1913.
Postal addresses were so short back then.
Fast-track to the 1980s and Christmas cards were very different. Here are a few of my favourites.
Yes, I have a scrapbook that includes some of my favourite Christmas cards.
The Boyfriend Dilemma
Finally, here’s a Christmas card from 1988 that was sent to me by my then boyfriend.
Unfortunately, he went on to break my heart on New Year’s Eve, yet I kept the Christmas card he sent me. I wonder why?
Do you send and enjoy receiving Christmas cards? Have you ever had any dilemmas with them?
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