Tuesday 15 January 2019

Christmas (and other) Cards from our Past

Remember when everyone used to send real Christmas cards by mail? We did as well early on – with notes in many of them to special people. Some had longer letters enclosed. In return, we received many cards from friends and relatives, again many with letters telling us what experiences those families had during the previous year. Many of those letters are now part of our family history, like pages from a diary.

In more recent years the world has turned to electronic delivery of holiday greetings. This past Christmas, that is all we sent out, although we did get a few real ones back. We apologized for just sending out cards via email although most people did like them. The music (White Christmas) certainly added to well-wishes.

I inherited a small collection of cards that had been sent to and from my grandparents. They include birthday cards, Mother’s and Father’s Day cards and Christmas cards. There are not a lot of them, but they are special. I have them in a small three-ring binder. It’s neat to see the messages people wrote in them. I wrote a blog post about one of them on 24 May 2016 – a get-well card sent to my grandfather in 1955.

Among the collection are a few Christmas cards addressed to my grandparents by my mother.

When I was growing up, we received enough cards to string along the entire length of the living room wall or arrange them in a seasonal display.

I think I have every card, for every occasion, we ever sent to each other: Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, special occasions. They are all in a storage bin marked Cards (What else?). It will probably be a miracle if they survive past us as our children either do not have the room to store things or don’t like to keep a lot of stuff themselves. We hope they might take the opportunity after we are gone to go through them and select out a few personal mementoes. It may also be a way of bringing family history to life with our grandchildren if they have a chance to look at the old cards and letters.

Some of them are cute!

Some are funny, if maybe a bit irreverent!

Some are sappy!

Some are especially sentimental, having been sent to or from our parents, children or grandchildren.

Many of our cards ended up in our family albums. Most ended up in the storage bin as room in albums was left for actual photos. Speaking of the bin, I found a letter and some photos from 1983 while going through it today – items that should probably have been put into an album.

I have said here before that nothing gets thrown away in our house if it has anything to do with family history. The cards are included in the memorabilia I keep around.

As may be seen here, it can be fun to see what was part of Christmas Past.