From Our Century to Yours

My fingers are pleased by the embossed ridges of the two-dimensional card.  Its reds, greens and golds are still bright.  “A Christmas Greeting” is printed beneath a snow-covered country scene framed by a wreath, bow and holly leaves.

On the other side is a one-cent stamp and postmark: Warsaw, Ind. 9 a.m., December 2, 1910.  It is addressed to my grandmother at her home in Syracuse, and signed by “A Friend – Z.A.”  I can imagine girlhood laughter between the eighteen year-old and her chum.  They may have gotten together for a sleighing (bob) party in the wintry woods.

According to, this one would fall into the golden era of Victorian postcards, 1898-1918.  The most collectible of these show St. Nicholas in colors other than red.  One German artist made mechanical cards with movable puppets, and there were also “Hold-to-Light” cards, in which Santa popped out of a chimney when held up to the light –  probably powered by candle, kerosene or gas.

Getting ready to write your annual Christmas letter, place an order for photocards, stick on personalized address labels?  Or maybe even cyberpaste some pictures on a funny dancing JibJab e-card?  The media has changed, but the sentiment hasn’t.  It is the season for letting others know we care and think about them, even if they’re a grandma we got to meet only in stories, photographs, and letters saved.



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