A place for reflection and introspection, communication and thoughtful conversation.
Thursday, 24 December 2009
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” - Washington Irving
Merry Christmas, Everyone! I hope you are having a lovely Christmas Day!
The first Christmas card (illustrated above) was created in England on December 9, 1842. Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London, and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley of Torquay, England. The picture, of a family with a small child drinking wine together proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd as Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totalling 2050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.
This was also the most expensive Christmas card was sold at an auction in England in 2001 for £20,000, approximately $40,000 USD. The card was from 1843.
The first Christmas greeting by SMS was a simple 'Merry Christmas'.
President Eisenhower issued the first official White House Christmas card in 1953. By the year 1961, the White House was sending out 2000 cards. By 2009, that number has risen to over 1.7 million.
Only one in 100 Christmas cards sold in Britain in 2006 contained any religious imagery or message, a recent survey has shown.
'Merry Christmas' is the greeting preferred by 53% of Americans; 21% of people like 'Happy Holidays' and only 12% like 'Season's Greetings'. In Australia, ‘Merry Christmas’ is the overwhelmingly popular majority.
In 2004, the German post office gave away 20 million scented stickers free to make Christmas cards smell like a fir Christmas tree, cinnamon, gingerbread, or a honey-wax candle.
An average household in America will mail 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place. In Australia, the average number mailed out by a household is 35 cards.
As early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. was worried by the amount of extra mail at Christmas time. His preferred solution to the problem was to limit by law the number of cards a person could send. Even though commercial cards were not available at that time, people were already sending so many home-made cards that sixteen extra postmen had to be hired in the city.
During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the USA.
The first Christmas stamp was released in Canada in 1898 and not Austria in 1937 as some claim.
The poinsettia, traditionally a Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the "Flower of the Holy Night". It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.
The traditional flaming Christmas pudding dates back to 1670 in England, and was derived from an earlier form of stiffened plum porridge.
Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.
The twelve days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany (6th of January) and represent the length of time it took for the wise men from the East to visit the manger of Jesus after his birth.
The Christmas tree displayed in Trafalgar Square in London is an annual gift to the UK from Norway since 1947. The Norwegian spruce given is a token of appreciation of British friendship during World War II from the Norwegian people.
English Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas between 1647 and 1660 because he believed such celebrations were immoral for the holiest day of the year.
Christmas trees arrived in England in the 1830s and became enormously popular when Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, took a tree to Windsor Castle in 1841. It is thought that the first tree to be decorated with lights was in 1882 when the vice-president of the Thomas Edison Electric Company, E. Johnson, strung together small light bulbs on his tree.
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
I sometimes get the impression that I am on a soapbox delivering a monologue, so your comments are welcome.