About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun Monday-I've Got Holiday Mail

I'm hosting today's Fun Monday. And, since it's just five days before Christmas, I thought it would be fun to share some of your holiday "snail" mail. Now I realize that a lot of people don't get into writing and mailing out holiday greetings, especially since we can be in contact with friends and family 24/7 through technology--phone calls, texting, twittering, facebooking, blogging, e-mailing, videoing. But, for most of us it's still a treat to see a holiday envelope mixed in with the bills and junk mail in the mailbox, especially if it's a handwritten message.

You may not know this. I did a bit of research and learned that the first Christmas card was mass produced in England in 1843. Henry Cole, a publisher and printer, grew tired of the Victorian custom of writing notes and greetings to friends and family for Christmas and the New Year. So, he commissioned his friend, the English painter John Calcott Horsley, to make the first hand painted lithograph card. The card above depicting both the celebrations and caring for the poor was the result. It caused a bit of controversy in Victorian English society because a child is shown sipping from a wine glass. One thousand copies of the card were printed, ten survived including this one to a Mr. Thompson, a friend of Henry Cole's.

The idea of mass produced Christmas card really caught on and soon spread to America as well. So, you might say Mr. Henry Cole made this particular Fun Monday assignment possible! Take a look at the cards, letters, and photos that you've received this year and share them. Possible categories: Best All Around Card, Most Meaningful Message, Best Kid/Pet Photo, Best Family Newsletter, Most Humorous Card. And if you don't do holiday greetings by mail, how do you send out your messages?

Here's the list of Fun Monday players:

1. Gattina (Host for Dec. 28)
2. Sayre
3. Cynicalgirl
4. ChrisB
5. Janis
6. Church Lady
7. Gracie
8. Jill
9. Ari (maybe)
10. Pamela (maybe)
11. Stephanie at Mama Drama

If anyone else would like to play and didn't get on the list, just let me know in the comments and I'll update.

The Best of My Holiday Mail:

Best All Around Card -- I loved the simple pen and ink drawing with a bare wash of color of this card. It made me want to draw it, especially the simple little Christmas tree, muffled kid and his dog.
Most Meaningful Message -- "'Tis the season for warm thoughts of you." It makes me happy that friends whom I don't see often throughout the year take the time to let me know that remembering our friendship is an important part of the holiday season.
Best Kid Photo -- meet Colton. He was born on Easter 2009 and how he has grown. Colton is the first child of a favorite former colleague and friend. Even though he's still young, Colton has his own easy chair and enjoys spending Saturday afternoon with his dad in front of the TV watching the Kentucky Wildcats play a good game of basketball.
Best Family Newsletter -- although much maligned, I still enjoy receiving the family updates, especially from friends who live in different states or abroad. However, this "newsletter" just cracks me up because it came from an 80+ year old friend who never forgets my birthday or Christmas. Her letters always contain news articles, stickers and cartoons with her own observations scribbled around: "I thought you might get a smile from my abbreviated newsletter (1 of 20 pages). Ha!"
Best Pet Card -- meet Doozer and his people. Joe was a work partner for many years and now he's just a really good friend. Looking through old Christmas photos I realized that I have the family portraits in front of the Christmas fireplace for many years. The first photo was taken in 2000 when Doozer was small enough that he needed to sit in his mom's lap and hang onto her arm. In the second photo, last Christmas, the kids are all grown up and Doozer is almost an old man. I'm looking forward to receiving the 2009 photo this week.
Well, there you have some of my favorite cards for the year. I hope you also hear from friends and family and that, regardless of your kind of greeting, you do take the time to send out some messages of good cheer, hope and love during this holiday season.


Sayre said...

Oh, that pen and ink card is absolutely charming!!!! I love it! Many of my cards from England/Wales are quite charming too - and usually feature birds in the snow. The one exception, which hasn't arrived yet, but according to an email I received last night, is imminent, is from my aunt and her husband - who do a newsletter and enclose it in a card that is drawn by my uncle. It really is beautiful and unique!

Jan n Jer said...

How interesting to learn of how the first Christmas card came about. I do love to receive cards in the mail...it makes you feel special that someone thought of you. Thanks for hosting n sharing Faye...Merry Christmas to you n Willie!

Pamela said...

you've done a beautiful job -- and I didn't even get anywhere near doing a post.

I did think about the card my husband has in his childhood memories -- one that has photos of him and his sister -- when they were adorable little toddlers.

Pamela said...

ps. at first I thought the abbreviated card was for real. ha ha ha ha ha.

Gattina said...

I didn't know the history of Christmas cards, that's very interesting !
The pen and ink card is very beautiful. I should be more "old fashioned" at my age, but I think you can see much more family pictures in Flickr etc and emails are more quick then snail mail. But everybody has its own opinion and that is good.

Debs said...

Lovely cards. I have quite a few this year and am running out of places to put them.

ChrisB said...

Faye you've done a brilliant job with this, especially including the origin of Christmas cards. I have done my post but I haven't really done just to your good choice of assignment.

The Church Lady said...

Thanks for the history lesson on the first Christmas card. I did not know any of that. I still love sending and receiving cards and I will continue to do so from year to year, unless postage becomes so outragious, or until the mailman's job becomes obsolete.

I love the photo card of Colton. He is a cutie!

I wish you and a very merry Christmas and Happy New year too!

wendishness said...

Sorry I missed this week and have been AWOL Faye....I just had something come up health-wise that knocked me for a bit of a six!

Lane said...

The family newsletter one cracked me up too.

What a great selection of cards you've had.

My favourite card this year is from My Auntie Vera who is 88 and has dementia. Her card though, as always is written in beautiful handwriting.