Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories Dec 4th Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are wonderful things. I love finding a pile of them in my mailbox during the early weeks of December. Sadly, it's too often that this is the only time we hear from some distant relatives and friends.  We hang ours on a pantry door in the kitchen, enjoying them through the month and adding to them everytime we get another greeting in the mail. In my parents home we did a similar thing, there was a louvered door in their kitchen and the cards easily slipped through it, overlapping each other and filling the door throughout the season.

Now that I have my own family, I do send cards every year to close friends and family. My Mom always sent cards - when I was old enough to help I seem to remember hundreds of them - possibly I just didn't want to help and the task seemed endless :) My own family now sends about 30-40 cards a year.

What do you do with them when Christmas is over? I'm sure that there are some who pack them away every year and others who simply keep any photos sent and drop the cards in the trash. Thankfully, my great-grandmother Margaret McCann Bellew kept some very special Christmas greetings sent from her husband John Bellew while they were apart - she in England with two children and her husband here in the US with another of their sons, building their new life.

While these cards are not what we see today in typical Christmas design, they are beautiful and contained hand-written notes of Christmas greetings from her husband and a son that went ahead with him to the US.

I was unable to scan these cards - they are not made of paper, but rather the fronts are some type of plastic material that is very fragile at this point, so I photographed them some time ago, and they have been put away for safe keeping. The embroidered one in the back appears to have more of a Christmas design and the greeting inside is as follows:

From Your Loving Husband and Son Willie
To Wife and Children
25th Dec 1923

When she finally joined her husband in the US, Margaret had the terrible misfortune of leaving one of her sons (John) in England. This must have torn at her heart for her entire life. When he was older, he sent Christmas greetings from England to his parents:

After seeing these cards in Margaret's things, I knew that she loved them and I will hang onto them and preserve them as best I can for future generations.

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