The Bravery of Old England

I’ve never had a plum pudding, carried flaming to the table with a sprig of holly on it like a jaunty beret. But frankly, after seeing some Victorian Christmas cards that star Ye Olde Figgy Pudding, I doubt that I am courageous enough to handle the experience. Those Victorians were an intrepid lot to face that dessert year after year.

Even when the illustrators were aiming for cute, they usually hit a bull’s eye in badass scary. Imagine meeting this fellow strolling down Christmas Tree Lane:

I have not decided which is worse, the knife and fork arms or the strange glass balanced on his head. Actually, the twigs spelling Merry Christmas are pretty creepy, too. And despite the presence of Santa in this next card, I would give those treats a miss (hit turbulence with his sleigh and he could wipe out an entire town):

Even the Victorians admitted their favorite Christmas treat had a dark side:

And while puddings still enjoy a certain popularity in England and the Commonwealth, I definitely prefer the more modern interpretation, such as my daughter found with “Mr. Pudding” on a t-shirt in Sydney, Australia years ago.

But then, I don’t think that was a “Christmas” pudding.

My unease continues…

My Yuletide Return

I’m baaaack! (Which you may have noticed with my kick-off post a couple of days ago). Yes, come the Christmas season and my concomitant yearning for a mailbox full of Christmas cards, I return to my blog, which celebrates all things sent, received, wrapped and anticipated.

With Christmas, our memories and boxes of old decorations feel renewed rather than recycled. And while we may never again be as wide-eyed as those first holidays of our childhood, the magic remains, waiting to be found and shared and, yes, MAILED.

So with a couple of photos from my own daughter’s first Christmas, welcome to the seasonal renewal of Post Whistle.

Christmas Eve Angel

angel

On Christmas Eve I’d like to share with you this lovely angel from a card my friend Susan sent me in 1997. While I cannot look at a picture like this and name the era, I know that styles change and an angel drawn nearly two decades ago will probably be different than angels drawn today. So enjoy this winged beauty from the past and enjoy your Christmas tomorrow.

Merry Christmas

 

Those Wacky Victorians

frog-card

If I write the words “Victorian Christmas card,” what springs to mind? Perhaps a convivial cast of Dickens-esque characters enjoying carols round the tree or sitting at a banquet table with a flaming plum pudding. Or maybe you think of turn-of-the-century whimsy, with beribboned kittens and rosy-cheeked children. But how about ice skating frogs who have lost both their footing and their pipes, all in a row?

Welcome to the wacky world of Victorian novelty cards where beetles dance with frogs while some winged thing shakes a tambourine.

bug-card

Then again, nothing says holiday cheer like traveling bee and beetle musicians in a wintry landscape. Their walking sticks are a nice touch.

bird-card

Strange these cards may be, but stranger still are the dead bird postcards. No kidding; I have seen more than one Victorian holiday card that features a dead bird lying on its back, little feet cocked in the air, a cheery Christmas message written below.

I decided not to “send” you any of those. You can thank me later.

 

Out of this World

space-reuben-h-fleet

While nostalgia usually edges out modernity at Christmas, there are exceptions. When I worked at a science-oriented non-profit several years ago, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center sent me this card of Earth and Moon ornaments. Isn’t the Moon’s shadow on Earth a wonderful touch?

I also received this gift-wrapped planet from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Placing a world suspended in space on white linen and blue ribbon is sheer genius. space-smithsonian

My sister acknowledged the “spacey” side of my personality when she once sent me this Astronaut Santa card. Note how the electronic equipment on his suit is also crimson.space-santa

And I confess that I am the one who picked out cosmic Christmas paper for wrapping gifts this year.

So however far afield your own thoughts or travels take you, have yourself an out of this world holiday season.

Cool Cats Kringle

shopping-christmas-%22wishing-you-the-cool-side-of-yuletide%22-sherrie

I love, Love, LOVE this 80s card from my sister, Sherrie! From the punk hair and Catasonic boom box to the Cats Fifth Avenue shopping bag, this cat exemplifies its era and stands out from the cards with perennial scenes of cozy cottages and snowmen. It shouts (yowls) its contemporary spirit, one that feels amusingly retro some 30-odd years later.

But then cards aren’t designed for the ages. Each folded bit of cardboard in its flimsy envelope is meant to be opened and enjoyed for a moment, displayed for a week or two, then tossed out with the crumpled Christmas wrappings when the season ends. Saving such a card is akin to tucking away a time capsule. You may not remember the gifts you received or the holiday TV specials watched, but the flavor of the era remains.

The card also reminds me of my own cats in the 80s, complete with high tech electronic flea collars and a bit of tinsel garland.christmas-1980s-cats                                          Mickey 3 and Piwacket

Operation Santa

Have a yen to send a letter to Santa, or even play Santa’s helper and help fulfill the wishes in one? The post office wants to help!

KPCC reports that “Operation Santa, the US Postal Service’s holiday charity program, is celebrating its 104th year of answering hopeful letters addressed to Santa Claus.”

Volunteers can visit a designated U.S. Postal Service Branch to adopt a letter and purchase the requested gifts, which the post office will deliver by Christmas.

The big red guy would definitely approve.