Christmas cards

1 Conversation

Words, words, words. That's what we're made of. Herewith some of my thoughts on what we're doing with them.

Writing Right with Dmitri: Christmas Cards

A man in green with a feather in one hand and drawing a theatre curtain with the other

You know what? Commercial Christmas cards started in 1843, the same year Dickens wrote 'A Christmas Carol'. The first one looked like this:

The first commercial Christmas card, 1843.

This early card was a postcard. It was prettier than it looks: each picture was hand-tinted. What would you have printed on this card? Something pithy? It read:

'A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You.'

Big surprise. Copywriting must have been invented shortly after this. Also not surprisingly, many people objected to this card on the grounds of political incorrectness. If you notice, people are drinking. For shame.

Let's design some Christmas cards for ourselves. Of course, we've got a card list of discriminating readers, so we'll have to be inventive. The busy moms in our group may not appreciate too sanguine a sentiment after they've spent the month carpooling, shopping, and attending school functions.

How to keep the baby quiet on the bus.
'Yes, I know she'll get a sugar rush, but the baby-sitter was at choir practice.' Wishing you a blessedly quiet Christmas.

Not jolly enough for you? Make up your own. (Plenty of space below.)

We've got lots of friends this year who are worried: not just the usual worries about bills, family problems, and small matters like World Peace, oh no. They're worried about the coming Mayan Apocalypse. Perhaps this would be an appropriate card:

Poster for Judgment Day at the Mayan Theatre.
Judgement Day is coming! Oh, wait, that was in 1938. Well, if we haven't noticed the world ending by now, why not have a Merry Christmas?

Once again, if you've got suggestions, we're open to hearing them.

Of course, we've all got science fiction fans among our nearest and dearest. If we didn't, we wouldn't be here on h2g2. What kind of greeting could we send them? Perhaps something fun and retro from outer space:

My sweetheart's the man in the moon.
'My sweetheart's the man in the moon, I'm going to marry him soon. . . ' Wishing you an out-of-this-world Christmas!

Well, I'm sure you can do better than that. Send us your suggestions, and get writing on your holiday cards. It's a grand old tradition.

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