Friday, December 19, 2008

The Gift of Friendship

Like so many Christmas traditions we enjoy today, the Christmas card was a Victorian invention. John Callcott Horsley designed the first sepia colored, triptyche styled card in 1843. The side panels depicted acts of charity and the center was a scene of rejoicing with family and friends. The picture here is the back of a two-sided Christmas card from the late 1800's. The inscription says, "May Christmas Peace keep Winter from thy heart." This 2 1/2 by 4 inch card was fringed with silk.

I'm ashamed to admit that I've gotten out of the habit of sending Christmas cards. We've moved so often, it's been easy to lose track of people, but I've found a number of our friends on the internet. I send out an electronic Christmas Newletter and spruce up my website with greenery to wish my visitors a Merry Christmas, but it's not the same as taking the time to hand address and send out individual cards.

My friend Marcy takes the idea of a Christmas card a step further. She creates calendars for her friends and sends them out each December. Each month is printed on a different themed paper. She rings each page with pithy, though-provoking, encouraging quotes. Every color and font change is carefully planned. She pours herself into these calendars, along with her wishes for love, peace and prosperity for the recipients. My calendar came yesterday. It was like getting a hug through the mail.

But however much I admire Marcy's creativity, I have to go with my strengths. Please accept this as my Christmas card to you. To my friends (many of whom are spread across the miles), my readers (whom I appreciate so much!) my family (who are especially dear to me as I go through this bout with cancer), I wish love, laughter and the merriest of Christmases.

And at the risk of a little plagiarism, "May Christmas Peace keep Winter from thy heart."

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