Remember exchanging Valentines in grade school? All those little cardboard rhymes brought home in a lunch bag. And Christmas cards. I line them up on the bookcase and sometimes don’t take them down until well into January. (Of course, I’ve been known to do that with my tree as well…)
As for Mother’s Day, I received my first card years before I became a parent because a former roommate liked sending them to her friends, whether or not they had children.
Naturally, the greeting card industry would like us to mail cards on every holiday, so they also trot out a selection at Easter, Thanksgiving and Halloween. Especially Halloween. There’s something about playing dress up and eating way too many tiny chocolate bars that makes for a card-worthy occasion.
But before you join the hue and cry against modern commercialism, recall that sending greeting cards is not a new phenomenon. In Germany, printers produced New Year cards from woodcuts as early as the 15th century. By the advent of England’s penny post in the mid 1800s, mass production of greeting cards was in full swing. 1843 saw not only the debut of Charles Dickens’ holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol, but also the first published Christmas card.
By the late 19th century, you would have been hard pressed to find a holiday that was not celebrated with a host of cards and post cards, bedecked with kittens, birds, flowers, and cherubic children. Some even injected a little humor into the occasion.
I’ve shamelessly borrowed several of those century-old designs to create my own holiday cards for the Post Whistle Shop, everything from French New Year’s greetings (Bonne Annee!) to a pumpkin-headed man driving a Model T. So if you feel like sending someone an unexpected 4th of July hello, you’re in luck!