With all the excitement and the rush of the holiday season, it’s easy to put off writing and mailing Christmas cards. With email and Facebook today, holiday cards might seem as outdated as the horse and buggy. But I’m holding on to the tradition of sending actual cards by mail. I’ve tried the easier and more convenient way a few times, but it doesn’t hold the same feeling. Apparently, I’m not the only one because, according to the Internet, Americans still purchase approximately 1.6 billion Christmas cards a year.
I love vintage Christmas cards and postcards and occasionally will come across reproductions in the store. The beautiful vintage artwork makes me think of Betsy, Tacy and Christmas in Deep Valley. Images that create the nostalgic feeling of a time long ago when Maud Hart Lovelace and her friends grew up in Mankato (Deep Valley), with snowy scenes of children ice skating and sledding, Christmas trees and holly, Santa Claus and church bells.
Imagine the excitement this time of year when the postman delivered the holiday greetings from family and friends at the Hart (Ray) and Kenney (Kelly) homes. Maud (Betsy) most likely had postcards similar to these in her postcard album.
A little history…For a few years in the early 20th century, postcards were a massive phenomenon. Postcards were the cheapest and easiest means of communication at one time. The cost of a stamp was only a penny. Billions of postcards were sent through the mail, and billions more were bought and put into albums and boxes. Christmas postcards were the most popular. Nearly every home in the early 1900s had a postcard album holding greetings from near and far.
Here are two references Maud made to postcards in the Betsy-Tacy books:
“As soon as I get back to Cox,” Jerry told her when he said good-by, “I’m going send you a present. What would you like? A postcard album?” A postcard album! It was just what she had been wanting. …
She [Betsy] hobbled downstairs late and spent most of the day on the back-parlor sofa. She liked to watch the red flames flickering behind the isinglass windows of the stove. After the postcard album came (for Jerry sent it! It had leather covers and the seal of Cox School on it.) she enjoyed putting in her collection of postcards. Postcards from her grandmother in California and from various uncles and aunts, from her father that time he went to St. Paul and from Tib when she went to visit in Milwaukee. Quote from Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
When Betsy went out into the Great World, “she sent flocks of post cards telling her friends that it was simply fascinating.” Quote from Betsy and the Great World