Published: November 01. 2012 2:39PM
Written by Stephanie Morgan
Photographed by Cindy Hosea
It must have been the day Charles Dickens announced, “I will honor Christmas in my heart and keep it all the year,” that one astute Sir Henry Cole reported home and with his quill began swirling out letters to his neighbors wishing them a Merry Christmas Season.
Cole sent the first commercial card celebrating the season in England in 1843, meant to be a reminder to be charitable at Christmas time. He was quite a trend setter, last year in the United States alone, over 1 billion holiday cards were distributed.
We’ve come a long way, Santa baby.
As one would expect in 169 years, dipped ink on cardboard has taken thousands of new forms. These days, if you want it you can have it for your holiday card. Traditional card stock with a printed message is the most familiar to us. Choose your favorite family photo of the year and send it out with a message from an ink jet printer and you’ve captured the American holiday card. However, Sir Henry Cole would be proud to know there is room for creativity. Cards of all types are welcomed in homes across the world. Funny, serious, religious, traditional, ornate, simple — you name it, you can find it. Just as Cole intended, many nonprofit organizations continue his message of taking care of the needy during the holidays.
Make a donation to Clement’s Kindness, United Ministries, Triune Mercy Center or other nonprofit agencies in the Upstate and you will receive special cards to aid in sharing the message of the organizations with family and friends.
Creativity always gets points and any self-made card goes straight to the top of the stack. Anyone who knows Russell and Susan Stall will vouch for the endless energy and commitment they share with whatever they set their minds to accomplishing, and their holiday cards are no exception. A few family meetings take place in which the Stalls decide the theme for the year, and Hampton, the older of their two sons, whips up a drawing exemplifying characteristics of the families decision. Scenes have showcased skateboards, team jerseys, a Greenville Forward logo, sunflowers, or drums. Each creates a vivid picture at what was going on with the Stalls at a given time. A masterpiece is created around the kitchen table and one that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Tiby Weinstein, owner of Gages on Augusta, could easily be labeled the holiday paper lady. This time of year Gages is all decked out in it’s holiday best and Weinstein is full of ideas for taking a customer’s card up a notch. She’s been serving customers for decades and knows how to help those of us who appreciate a hand-written note in December. In a world driven by emails, ebooks and voicemails, paper has become a luxury. Weinstein suggests making a lasting impression by choosing cards made of high-quality papers.
We all love seeing the photos of little ones growing older, and by choosing a card that allows a stick-on photo, Weinstein says the card — and the photo — can last a whole year. It can be framed or held firmly with a magnet long into the New Year. As you might expect, Weinstein shares her own version of holiday messages on beautiful paper each season. She chooses a quote that speaks to her and shares it, hoping that her family and friends will enjoy the words as much as she did. Years after sending one first spoken by Bette Midler, Weinstein is reminded of how much her friends enjoyed it. Personal and unique: just what we want.
For those looking for a truly special holiday card, consider Lynn Greer, an accomplished local artist who is best known for her works in the watercolor medium. Her series of beach ladies best represents a true love of capturing people in ordinary moments of life, and when Greer celebrates the holidays, she shares a piece of art in the mounted on a card with her friends.
She often chooses a painting that she’s created earlier that year and adds a touch of holiday to it — glowing candles to trees, snow to branches, an ornament to a limb — showing how simple additions make the best treasures of the holidays.
For some, holidays cards are all business. This is the time to send a special note of appreciation in something a little more personal than an invoice. At Invitations on Main, Kathy Boswell caters to a high volume of business leaders searching for the perfect way to end the year with a meaningful message showing appreciation. A different twist on the traditional card, customers have developed a strong liking to gift tags, Boswell says.
In some cases, a pretty gift tag may serve the purpose of saying thanks or adding the right touch to a perfectly wrapped goodie for a neighbor. Holiday colors and other nontraditional, oversized tags add personality to your package when it’s just too small for a traditional card. Take the time to write a note or express appreciation for another year of friendship or business, and everyone wins.
Of course you can never go wrong with the “perfect” card you see on the shelf in the drugstore for a close friend. One of my all-time favorites came from my dear friend the first Christmas my husband and I were married. The outside cartoon showed a a couple in what appears to be a room all decked with holly. She is excited, grinning from ear to ear, and he’s looking at her completely confused while holding a beautiful pair of high-heeled women’s boots.
She’s clears things up for him with one line: “Honey, Don’t you love it? It’s the perfect pair of stocking-stuffers.”
Every girl knows great Christmas gifts fit perfectly in the shoe closet. They are better received, however, if attached to a card.
|Gages on Augusta offers many types of holiday greeting cards, including photo cards which become gifts to be enjoyed throughout the year.CINDY HOSEA/Staff|