Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Goodbye for another year!


The decorations are back in their boxes, the tree has been recycled, the Christmas cards are all down and put into a bag, and now is the time to send them off to that great card repository in the sky - or wherever - in my case the recycling box at Tesco. To think that only a month ago we were all busy writing our cards and posting them, yet here they are discarded, like confetti after a wedding, just a nuisance and to be got rid of.


I put them in a bag this morning. Well, I started to put them in and then I started looking at them and reading the messages again and thinking about old friendships and old friends I haven't seen for many years and only ever hear from at Christmas. It took up an hour or two, but boy, did I go down memory lane.


Time was when all Christmas cards were rectangular, most had either a robin or a stage coach on the front, with a bit of snow and all were of the very poorest quality card, so that by Christmas morning they were leaning and wobbling like drunken toy soldiers. Every time anyone opened the front room door they would all topple over and my mother would sigh and stand them all up again propping them up against vases and the mantelpiece clock. The only ones which were sturdy and made of good quality card were the private ones which said things like "Mr and Mrs John Smith wish you the Compliments of the Season and hope you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year." We only ever had two or three of these and they always sat on the piano. "This is a bit of good card," father would say standing them four square and knowing that they wouldn't falter.

Cards only cost one penny to post in those days; that was if you just tucked the flap in rather than stick it down. If you stuck it down then it cost threepence but we always tucked the end in - we didn't care who read our cards and who would be interested anyway.

Over the years there has been a change - I was going to say a subtle change, but there is nothing subtle about it. First of all the card all got much better quality and the price rose accordingly. Then charity cards crept in. Suddenly "anything goes" became the norm - funny cards, rude cards, cards that played a carol when you opened them, good taste, bad taste, no taste at all - they were all there.

So, this morning I sorted them out and this is the result. Out of 100 cards:-

23 had glitter on them (lots!)

56 of them were charity cards.

5 were home-made.

10 had robins on them.

12 had snow (how long is it since we had a white Christmas? We still hope.)

14 were religious.

7 were Old Masters.

4 had holly on them.

2 had snowdrops.

And 1 (ta-da) still had a Stage Coach galloping through the snow. It was from our 90 year old aunt - a real piece of nostalgia.

I love Christmas cards. The e mail card and message will never take the place of a real card for me. I have moved around a bit and I get messages from all over the country, and a few from abroad and I love receiving every single one.

I think we will draw a veil over The Round Robins (no connection whatsoever with that perky, red-breasted bird synonymous with Christmas).

Goodbye cards as you plop into the recycling box. I have enjoyed your company for the past three weeks - see you all again another year in your recycled form.

The card we sent this year was one of the farmer's photographs - it sits at the top of this post - it has escaped recycling!

25 comments:

Teresa said...

What a fascinating collection of Christmas card tidbits!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Maybe we should make scrap books of them all Teresa.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I love real cards too!

Our recycling method for our top favourites is to bring them out again year after year! They go in various other rooms in the house rather than the sitting room, (which is reserved for that year's cards). This gives us a memory-fest every year!

Hildred said...

I have boxes and boxes of old Christmas cards because I can't bear to throw them out..what does that say about me???? And memories...

During the war (the Second World War that is) my husband was a Lancaster Pilot seconded to the RAF. After the war his Radio Operator was the Post Master at Peak Dale for many years. When we attended a Squadron Reunion (#170) in 1985 we visited the Peaks, - stayed in Buxton at the Crescent and lunched at the Derbyshire Arms on our way to the Derwent Dam. Very interesting to these airforce fellows.
While in Derbyshire we visited Castleton and I still wear the Blue John Ring my husband bought me there, - unfortunately we didn't have time for the trek to Peveril Castle.

I am enjoying browsing through your old posts.........

Heather said...

Thankyou for the comment you left me about photos. My daughter is coming tomorrow to go through a 'cleaning' proceedure for me, to try to find out if there is a fault with the laptop. It is still very slow at times, and then not so bad at others. Loved your stats. about your Christmas cards. I agree, emails wouldn't be the same at all.

Poet in Residence said...

We keep quite our Christmas and birthday cards etc. for use as telephone message pads, bookmarks, postcards, shopping lists etc.; it's a kind of recycling.
And the tree? You can give it to an elephant. Or plant it in the garden and use it again.

Kyfarmlife said...

Weaver I LOVED this! I always recycle mine by using them as gift tags on presents the next year...either the picture or the sayings, if not marked on....for some reason we have A LOT of polar bears and penquins on cards....I dont care for those myself, but whatever floats your boat! I never thought of gathering info like this on cards...TOTALLY neat!

HelenMHunt said...

My mother was a huge hoarder and kept Christmas cards going way back. I couldn't bear to throw them away so they're all in my loft now.

45 and Aspiring said...

I've started doing what KYfarmife does--using as gift tags. I've also used them to decoupage onto ornaments or "advent gift bags" for my granddaughter. I keep a few of my special favorites (usually a cute fat santa).

But since I've read it from PoetinResidence, I can't stop thinking. . . how, oh how, can I donate my tree to an elephant??

willow said...

There are just a few Christmas things left on the dining room table that I need to wrap and put away and I'm pretty much done for another year, too.

I save a few of my favorite cards every year and store them with my decorations. But each year, the number of cards decreases, as well as the pretty, decor worthy ones.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Raph - I never thought of that - some of them are really beautiful - one this year of woodland in snow with a lot of glitter - it lit the room when the fire was lit.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting - your visit to Derbyshire Hildred. The Blue John stone is very pretty. You were not so very far from where we live in the Yorkshire Dales rather than the Derbyshire Dales - similar landscape, different stone.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hope you get your laptop sorted Heather.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Donating it to an elephant has really set the cat amongst the pigeons! What would the elephant do with it? Eat it, decorate it. use it to block the entrance to its hide? A bit of lateral thinking is called for here.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Kyfarmlife - I do use some as gift tags - the trouble is I make them and put them in a box for next year and then forget where I have put them! They usually surface about the following February.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh dear Helen - it seems that you have inherited the tendence to keep things!

The Weaver of Grass said...

45 and aspiring - thanks for visiting. Yes - I wonder about that donating to an elephant too!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree willow. I have several friends left from my musical days and usually get some really lovely ones from them - usually angels playing golden trumpets - I find those hard to part with.

elizabethm said...

Yes all our Christmas things are gone and I quite like it - like having the house back somehow. I haven't brought myself to put the cards in the recycling yet but I will.
Will not be giving my tree to an elephant this year as it is a tiny home grown one which has gone back outside. Perhaps I can find something else the elephant would like.

Poet in Residence said...

45, aspiring and weaver,
if you give your Christmas tree to an elephant he will most likely eat it. The elephant knows the difference, so don't give him your artifical one unless you want a bashing over your head with it. Other zoo animals may like to eat old xmas trees, but so far I've only seen the elephants doing so.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Although I've dropped by a few times (having seen your comments elsewhere) I have not commented before even though I have enjoyed my visits. Apologies for lurking!

Your card stats are fun and made me think what our own might be like - they are in the bag ready for disposal! But I must admit that we did send all our overseas friends, and some UK ones, an electronic card this year.

One 'wag' did thank us but mentioned he had found it difficult to put the laptop on the mantlepiece! However, he did acknowledge that the card was delightful, as did many of the other recipients.

Naturally, as someone who sells cards, I hope they don't go out of fashion entirely! But the electronic versions can be magical.

If you're still with me, may I also say how right you and your little terrier are about dog breeding. It's high time the health defects and neuroses were reversed.

May I come back, please?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Poet in Residence: You have an amazing sense of humour - you keep me laughing on this grey day!! There is a great programme on elephants starting this evening on our television - perhaps I shall learn more about trees and elephants after watching that.

BumbleVee said...

I still love Christmas cards and hope they don't just go the way of the dodo... but, many seem to favour the emailed cards.. like Derrick's friend said..how the heck can we put that on a mantle?

I save the pretty ones, cut out the bits I want to use for gift tags... use some (the fronts) for tree decorations) embellish other card fronts or parts of them and make hanging decorations from them to send to people with their gifts, make little gift boxes from others... or just use some for inspiration for other artsy things....... and/or...just save them for other years if they are exceptional... and display them for a few years.... some are just too beautiful to toss.....

Dragonstar said...

I love that photo! Our cards illustrate a similar selection of styles, and I haven't recycled them yet.

Mistlethrush said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

You've done well to get 14 nativity cards - it's so difficult to find them nowadays. I think that's sad - after all Christmas is a religious festival.