The Sad Demise of the Christmas Card          - 7/12/2010      <--Prev : Next-->

Do you remember those days when we would buy giant packs of Christmas cards with envelopes to send to all of our friends worldwide ?

Depending on your circle of friends, you could purchase hundreds of cards to send to loved ones and acquaintances on one's local or overseas contact list. We made a point of only ever buying Charity Christmas Cards and these would be sold on given days usually from about October, at the Large City Hall or the Harker Hall. I recall scores of caring ladies from the various charities, sitting at large tables with their beautifully reconditioned Christmas Cards for sale in shoe boxes !! Some were reconditioned or some had photos or paintings by local artists, sponsored by local business houses.

We would make a circuit of the room buying from our favorites charities, under the watchful eye of the amazing charity minded ladies !! Twenty cards from the Downs Syndrome Association, twenty from the SPCA, twenty from St Johns Ambulance, Twenty from TOC H and so on.

I can just picture the Card Bee Making Circles that had taken place the whole year where like minded institutions spent happy days making and collating those hundreds of cards. Many were from old Christmas cards carefully cut and pasted (With glue even !) onto A 4 paper donated by local business people, and then neatly folded into four. Envelopes too were generally donated. (Remember the good old envelope ? Also a thing of the past !!)

Then came the tedious (I found it tedious as life was fraught in those days) but most found it a glorious walk down memory lane as the good old address book was hauled out of the drawer and old and precious friends were remembered.

Some cards had a banal Christmas message, some were given special thoughts and often a typed (or hand written - groan) epistle was placed inside of the years events !! Then the important business of getting the cards off before the deadline had to be attended to. The Post Office would issue stern public warnings in the press, of dates to be adhered to for surface mail postings, otherwise one would be charged punitive airmail postage rates !!

To the USA, Asia and Australia cards had be posted before the end of October if I remember correctly, to the UK and Europe probably by the middle of November, African countries had the grace of end of November and then local cards possibly the middle of December.

The Poor Old Postman would then start wobbling on his clapped out old red bicycle to the postbox at the front gate, bringing sacks of cheery mail instead of bills for a change !! Cards from all over the world would pour in from people one only ever heard from annually. Hanging up the cards was fun, we have a giant glass sliding door onto which we would "sticki stuff the cards (press-stick) or sometimes we would use those tiny pegs and loop them around the indoor garden. Furtive glances were sometimes cast at peoples wealth of displayed cards to see if they had more friends than you did !!

It was so nice to hear news from abroad, or even news from a neighbour down the road and some of the cards were absolutely glorious. There were cards with glistening snow and sparkling silver and gold glitter, indicative of Christmas in the northern hemisphere, or there were cards with wildlife or cartoons. I most loved the ones of the Holy Family, with the beautiful faces of Mary and the Christ Child.

Christmas was Christmas in those days, no one was scared to say the "C" word !! I just hate it when I see the word Xmas, or see that the White House tree is called a "Holiday Tree" instead of a Christmas tree, what is the world coming too ????

Nowadays of course, most of us have gone to the e cards which is very very sad indeed. But then one does not only correspond with friends only at Christmas time as the world has opened up so much that it is so easy to send off a quick e mail every day if one has the wish to do so.

I remember when the first internet cards began to circulate furiously and our antediluvian third world e mail system would literally electronically buckle under the strain of the christmas flurry of cards. I could just mentally picture all those santas and reindeers flying round and round aimlessly in snowy cyberspace as the airwaves struggled to cope.

Progress ?? Good or bad ?? I wonder ..