Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Cards

Since I was a wee girl I have been collecting postcards. It started with the collection of vintage postcards given to me by my grandfather. I have many vintage cards but also new postcards. I like to send postcards – and receive them of course. In this country people do not send as many postcards to their friends while on vacation as is done in Europe. But they do send many Christmas (post)cards.

In France not many Christmas cards are sent (at least when I lived there) because, unless one is a practicing Christian, Noel (Christmas) is considered more as a children’s holiday – for Santa, or as a family celebration. Close family members and close friends may exchange one or two gifts.

Most French people send Happy New Year cards during the whole month of January. New Year celebrations are also more popular than Christmas, at least in Paris. There are always elaborate parties with family, friends or at restaurants and clubs to celebrate New Year’s Eve, which is called “Le Réveillon” and also “La Saint Sylvestre." Champagne flows freely – oysters on the half shell and foie gras are consumed with pleasure. At midnight everyone kisses under the mistletoe. On New Year’s Day (Le Jour de l’An) family and friends get together for another big meal and exchange presents.

Armenian families, just like Russian and Greek families celebrate Christmas on January 7th, according to the Julian calendar followed by the Armenian/Russian/Greek and other Orthodox churches. The Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar adopted by most countries, the United States included.

Card From The Four Gospels, Armenian early 17th century

Nowadays, since we are retired and our family is not large, we do not receive many Christmas cards – maybe 8 or 10 at most. But this week I posted 50 cards in the mail. I sent some to old friends and some family – who rarely answer - but then again to perfect strangers. If you have read the short story by Truman Capote “A Christmas Memory” you will recall that his cousin and he would bake 30 fruitcakes. Who were these cakes for? Here, quoting from the story: “…the larger share is intended for persons we’ve met maybe once, perhaps not at all.” As you can see in the following paragraph, I, just like Truman Capote and his cousin, have found a way to send good cheer to persons I have not met.

I enjoy cards so much that I think other people must be pleased to receive them, too. Many people are lonely and fighting some depression at this time of year. Living in Georgia I am fortunate that the Ga. Department of Agriculture sends a free monthly news bulletin called the “Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin.”

In their first issued every December they list the names and addresses of “Special People.” These are people, especially the elderly and shut-ins, who often find themselves without loved one to share holidays. The Bulletin writes that although their circumstances may vary they would all like to receive cards from readers. Then they list about 200 names and addresses throughout Georgia. I pick about 35 names, usually from tiny towns and send them a pretty Christmas card with a hand-written greeting. I used to send more than 50 cards but with the increase in the price of stamps I have had to streamline. I have been sending cards like this for years – am not sure when I became aware of the Special People list, but maybe 15+ years ago. It is a ritual at Christmas time and I anxiously wait for the list.

Below are two of the cards I sent this year to family, friends and the Special People. I would like to send a card to each of you, but since I do not have your address, this will be a virtual Christmas card of good cheer.

A traditional Christmas card -

or a more modern style one -

Inside it says: "perfect love, perfect peace, perfect joy to you"

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is 120 years old this year. Last month when we were there around 8:00 pm at night the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkled like a Christmas tree then there was a light show with vibrating colors surrounding it. This show is to celebrate the Tower’s birthday and is taking place from October until the end of December. It was a fascinating display that I wish you could all see so I found the link to it and if you click on the picture below you should see it. This is the first time I attach a video link so I hope it will work. Enjoy -

So A Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends who come from many parts of the world – I hope I won’t make a mistake when I say some of your greetings:

Joyeux Noel (French)
Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand (Armenian)
Puthuvalsara Aashamsakal (Malayalam)
Buon Natale (Italian)
Fröhliche Weihnachten (German)
Feliz Navidad (Spanish)
God Jul (Norwegian)
Zalig Kerstfeest (Dutch)
Milad Majid (Arabic)
Glædelig Jul (Danish)
Nadolig Llawen (Welsh)
Srozhdestovm Kristovim (Russian)
Feliz Natal (Polish)
Bada Din Mubarak Ho (Hindi)
Vesele Vianoce (Slovak)
Selamat Hari Krismas (Malay)
Maligayang Pasko (Philippines)
Craciun fericit si un An Nou fericit! (Romanian)
Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun (Turkish)
Kellemes Karácsonyi ünnepeket és Boldog Új Évet! (Hungarian)
Hyvää Joulua or Hauskaa Joulua (Finnish)
Hristos se rodi (Serbian)
Geseende Kersfees (Afrikaan)

To those friends who do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you happy New Year festivities.


""°o.O Nancy O.o°"" said...

*** Bonjour Chère Vagabonde ! ***

La vidéo fonctionne très bien et c'est un plaisir de voir cette Dame Tour Eiffel qui fête ses 120 ans ! :o)
Dire que je vais habiter Paris dans quelques mois !!!! ça me changera de ma vie actuelle au soleil mais j'en suis heureuse quand même ! J'aime la capitale ! :o)

Merci pour ces très belles cartes postales sur ton blog aujourd'hui et ce qui est écrit au cœur de l'une d'entre elles sont des mots parfaits en cette occasion :
«parfait amour, la paix parfaite, parfaite joie pour vous"

*** MERCI BEAUCOUP et je te souhaite de BONNES FÊTES DE NOËL Vagabonde !!!!! BISES AMICALES ***

Elaine said...

I very much enjoyed your Christmas postcards. You're right that people don't send out as many Christmas cards as they used to. I send out a combination of paper cards and e-cards. I like your special people list and sending cards to people who would otherwise be alone. Many elderly people have no family left and receiving a card could really brighten up their day. Good for you to take the time to do this for them.

I also enjoyed the Eifell Tower light show. It must have been spectacular to see in person.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Roger Gauthier said...

Bonjour Vagabonde !

Ici on sent le réchauffement de la planète. Hier matin à la même heure (04h), il faisait -28. Aujourd'hui, - 26 ! Wow...

Bon bon bon je délire, rien de bien nouveau. J'adore tes cartes de Noël. Dans mon cas aussi, je n'en reçois presque plus. Je pense que ça fait l'affaire des Postes canadiennes, affectueusement baptisée ici la Poche royale à cause de sa propension à bouffer le courrier.

La tour Eiffel... ils sont fous ces Français ! Engueulades avant et pendant la construction de cette « horreur », beaucoup voulaient la démolir tout de suite après et vendre la chose au poids d'acier, et maintenant ils en ont fait un monument !

Au moins elle tient debout... Ici on a le Stade olympique, créé par l'architecte français Roger Taillibert, de sinistre mémoire... ça coûterait trop cher de le démolir, alors nous le laissons là malgré la tendance de sa tour à s'enfoncer !

Le beau Taillibert, il avait oublié l'hiver québécois ! Ça fait qu'il s'est gouré et pas à peu près, quoi qu'il en dise...

Bon voilà, j'ai fini pour ce matin, il fait toujours -26, heureusement que la cabane répond aux normes d'isolation modernes du Québec...


Roger G.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Vagabonde: I have to say that is one of the most beautiful Christmas greetings I have received this year!! Thank you.

Your collection of postcards are beautiful. And your private tradition of sending cards to people on the list of 'special people' is heart-warming. I can just imagine their delight to receive your kind greetings in their mailbox.

May your Christmas be merry and bright and may 2010 bring you health and happiness.

Bonnie (((hug)))

DJan said...

As usual, your beautiful post has brightened my day. I love the collections of Christmas cards, and the precise and elegant manner in which you have presented them, including all the greetings in different languages AND different fonts. That takes time, to make something so... elegant, it's the best word to describe your blog. Blessings upon you and yours as we celebrate the last weeks of the first decade of the 21st century!

Ruth said...

I love postcards too. I collect them and use my favorites for bookmarks. I send some for special occasions. Your Christmas tradition for the Special People touches and inspires me. Imagining a lonely soul receiving a card from you warms my heart.

I like thinking about all your cultural connections, and I was interested to read about the different holiday traditions. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Jinksy said...

What a lovely thing to do! You have a great collection of cards on show in this post, too. I only wish I had your email address, to reciprocate with an ecard greeting of my own...

Darlene said...

I loved your video of the Eiffel Tower light show. I wish I could see it in person. Awesome !!

I would add to your Merry Christmas list from other countries one from the Southwest. It is "Feliz Navidad" from Mexico.

Darlene said...

Oops ! My mistake. I was in a hurry and didn't see Feliz Navidad from Spain in your list. Sorry.

RennyBA's Terella said...

What a wonderful collection of Xmas cards - thanks for sharing; all of them!

Thanks also for the vid - it worked! Did not know The Eiffel Tower is 120 years - but one always learn some from your posts!

Btw: You're right: God Jul - in Norwegian :-)

Rajesh said...

Fabulous collection of post cards. Very beautiful.

kyh said...

Lovely postcards, and I love Paris! It's great that you've stayed in France for quite some time. I'm jealous! ;)

I love postcards too. And if my friends were to go on a vacation to somewhere, I'd insist they buy me postcards as souvenirs should they ask me so. Postcards make me happier more than other fancy souvenir gifts. ;)

And as for the Christmas greetings in various languages, I see you stated the same phrase for both the Malayalam (an Indian language) and the Malaysian language. Actually in Malaysia, we do not call it as Malaysian language, but rather the Malay language. And in Malay, Merry Christmas is known as Selamat Hari Krismas or Selamat Hari Natal. :)

Marguerite said...

Mon cher, Vagabonde, What a lovely post and your vintage Christmas cards are wonderful! Enjoyed the Eiffel Tower video, too. As we say here in Cajun Country, Joyeaux Noel!

Dutchbaby said...

I love all of your vintage cards and thank you for the virtual ones you sent us. I love them both!

Zalig kerstfeest (2 e's) to you too!

Dutchbaby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
""°o.O Nancy O.o°"" said...

*** Coucou Chère Vagabonde ! ***

Je te remercie pour ton message sur mon blog.
Je te souhaite de très bonnes fêtes en famille chez ta fille cadette. S'il y avait un peu de neige ce serait sympa et ça marquerait bien la fête de Noël ! :o)

*** Bises amicales et à très bientôt ! :o) ***

Unknown said...

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I am from Poland

Unseen India Tours said...

Fantastic collection of Beautiful Cards !! is anyone of them is for me too? :)

claude said...

Quelle jolie collection de cartes de Noël !
Je me suis très mal organisée cette année pour en envoyer, de même pour les cartes de nouvel an.
On a un point commun, J'ai aussi de vielles cartes postales de Paris qui me viennent de mon Pépé.
Paris à la Belle Epoque.
La vidéo sur la Dame de Fer de Paris est très bien.
Je repasserai regarder à nouveau toutes ces jolies cartes.

rauf said...

i have to apologise for my late response Vagabonde, My computer was down and i didn't check my mail and the blog comments for a couple of weeks.

First of all i wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year Vagabonde.

You had asked if the Malayalam word for Christmas greeting Puthuvalsara Aashamsakal is right.
i just have a working knowledge of Malayalam. So i asked my friends, Malayalees (Keralites mostly) i was surprised none of them knew, they all say Merry Christmas. One friend said Krist (Christ) Ashamsakal. i think Puthuvalsara is New year greeting. i am not sure as none of my friends confirmed it. Since Eglish is widely spoken in India, they all greet each other in English. Believe me vagabonde, i haven't seen a single greeting card in Malayalam in my life. Wedding invitations too are printed in English, very few in Malayalam. i am sorry for disappointing you.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays.

claude said...

Voilà, je suis repassée et me suis régalée à admirer ces jolies cartes.
JOYEUX NOEL, Vagabonde !

Kenza said...

Chère Vagabonde,
Je te souhaite un joyeux Noël et de très belles fêtes de fin d'année!
Gros bisous

Vicki Lane said...

I have always loved the Capote story and I love your thoughtfulness in sending cards to those special people you don't know. (It's also pretty nice that the GA Dept. of Agriculture runs thhat list.)

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours, Vagabonde!

Val said...

what a beautiful christmas blog post! the cards are lovely and i especially love the Special Persons list - what a fabulous idea. I hope you had a lovely christmas, and many thanks for your inspirational blog!

Fennie said...

Bonjour Vagabonde. Super video de la tour Eiffel. Mais c'est trichant d'avoir quatre tours à la fois n'est-ce pas? Bonne fete!

kyh said...

Joyeux Noel, Selamat Hari Natal and 圣诞节快乐!Wish you and your family have a great Christmas season. :)

Baino said...

I'm ashamed to say that I did not post one Christmas card this year. Not for any other reason than I just ran out of time. Terrible excuse when I have a year to prepare! These are beautiful though.

""°o.O Nancy O.o°"" said...

*** Hello Vagabonde ! :o) ***

Quelques mots ce soir pour toi ...
Je pense que le Père Noël a été gentil chez vous et que votre réveillon en famille a été chaleureux et je m'en réjouis.

*** GROS GROS BISOUS à toi Vagabonde et aux tiens aussi bien sûr !!! :o) ***

Ashley Ashbee said...

Thank your explaining the importance and history of postcards, and their relevance in Europe! I especially like the part where you related your reasons for sharing postcards to the short story by Truman Capote.

claude said...

J'aime bien la dernière ave c les petits rouges-gorges.
Je suis inquiète au niveau de ma première carte postale. You received it or not ???

Anonymous said...

Geseende Kersfees (Blessed Christmas in Afrikaans)

Thanks for this and you're welcome to my Christmas Card on my blog

Happy 2010 to you

Vagabonde said...

Nancy, Roger, Claude et Kenza – Merci pour tous vos bons voeux. J’espére que vos fêtes de fin d'année se passent bien. Je suis rentrée hier et je vais essayer de faire un petit post en vitesse dans les jours suivants.

Vagabonde said...

Elaine, Bonnie, DJan, Ruth, Jinksy, Darlene, RennyBA’s Terella, Rajeesh, Marguerite, Dutchbaby, Unseen Rajasthan, Vicki Lane, Val, Fennie and Baino - You all left such kind words about my Christmas post – I wish to thank you very much as this means a lot to me. I am so glad when I see that my blogging friends come to visit me. We flew back in town yesterday – I’ll try to visit your blogs and write a small post in the next few days. I hope you are having some good times during this end of the year holidays. Happy New Year to each of you and your loved ones.

Vagabonde said...

Kyh – Welcome to my blog – so glad to see that you came over to visit me. I’d like to thank you for correcting my Christmas wishes in the Malay language – I corrected the post.

Vagabonde said...

SzymonXY and loveable_homebody- Welcome to my blog - I always enjoy new visitors – it was nice of you to stop by and write a comment – thank you.

Vagabonde said...

Rauf – thank you for researching how to say Merry Christmas in the language spoken in the state of Kerala. You are right of course; they use the English language for the greeting. My son in law, whose both parents speak Malayalam, did not know how to say Merry Christmas in that language either. I appreciate your visit and your time and hope you are having some good time during this holiday season.

Vagabonde said...

Janet – I went back to my post and added the Merry Christmas you wrote in the Afrikaan language – thank’s so much for it. I’ll go and visit your blog soon. Have a great end of year too dear Janet.

claude said...

Je viens de refaire un passage. J'aime bien aussi la carte avec les deux petites filles et celle du Père Noël en train de lire une lettre d'un enfant. Elles sont ravissantes ces cartes.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Great information, and great-great vintage cards. It's really a wonder that you have so many.

Rajasthani Turbans

Anonymous said...

Dear Vagabonde,
I so enjoyed this article!!! I too have been sending cards to women via the Farmers & Consumers Market Bulletin. Every year I look forward to getting the list and picking a few new names. I try to pick women that are still living on their own versus the retirement home as I find them to be the true shut in and may have less contact than people living communally in a retirement facility. In fact I love doing it so much that I try to send them cards through out the year at other holidays and not just Christmas. Some I have faithfully written for 5 years now. Every name I pick I make the same promise to write them as long as their name remains on the F&CBM Christmas list each year. Since I write them anonymously this is the only way to ensure they are still receiving my cards.

I wanted to share my dismay in finding out they have cancelled the 2010 list for this year! It was through looking up their website to complain about this that I came across your article. Please take a second to drop them an email to add your complaint to this issue as I am doing. I am truly saddened by this and cannot for the life of me understand why they would cancel with no real explanation? I know they have announced they will now be charging for the paper. Something I have no problem with as long as the list remains a part of the paper as it is truly the only reason I have a subscription. They said to contact local rest homes about sending cards, but this does nothing for the people that still live alone in their own homes.

This has became such a huge part of my holiday season, that I am going to continue to send the cards anyways this year. I find it horrible that right before the holidays they would do this and can only hope that enough complaints will get them to change their minds for 2011 and give a real explanation behind this years cancellation. Thanks for being the only ray of sunshine in all of this as your post was beautiful and describes exactly how I feel about doing this small good deed~Christy

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