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)
6. Church Lady
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.