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.

The Game’s Afoot!

victorian-board-game

Imagine a world where mail at Christmas — and any other time of the year — was so ubiquitous, you could devise a game around it. I know nothing about this Victorian board game entitled Christmas Mail except that it was once sold to and played by families more than a century ago.

What might have been the objective — to deliver more letters than anyone else, to receive more cards, or perhaps to maneuver past obstacles like snowed in mountain passes or spooky forests to place children’s Christmas wish lists into the hands of the big guy in red?

Whatever that game’s original goals, my own game of Christmas Mail has but two: send out Christmas cards in time for friends and family to open them by December 25th (a date I don’t always meet), and maybe collect a few from my mailbox in return.

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

christmas-mail-1Readers, are you still out there?

My mail ship veered off course for nearly a year. You can imagine all of the reasons — excuses — and none of them provides an adequate explanation. My life and the accompanying calendar just zoomed past at breathtaking speed. But as the holidays approach, my thoughts inevitably turn to Christmas cards and reconnections and this sadly neglected blog.

Maybe I should not promise to be a better correspondent in the future. Like the scrawled note at the bottom of a seasonal card, intentions are good, but distractions are many. So even if these electronic cards and letters are destined to post only sporadically in the future, let me say here and now HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Let’s begin a season of Christmas.

Fruitcake Defense

fruitcake

Abigail Samoun, my editor at Tricycle Press, sent me this card. Although I laughed, honesty compels me to say I LIKE fruitcake. I even love some fruitcakes, so none ever sits around long enough to become fossilized in my home.

Tricycle published my first picture book, Why Explore?, as well as two additional books. However, as an imprint of Ten Speed Press, it was acquired along with that company by a larger publisher five years ago, and poor Tricycle was disbanded.

But Abigail and I have a happy ending. We continue to work together because she is now my literary agent.

So Abi, I’m still waiting for my fruitcake, fossilized or otherwise.