Last Christmas, if my memory serves, it was robins. This year is would seem to be post boxes. I refer to the pictures on Christmas cards.
The production and sale of cards must be a multi-million pound business these days, a far cry from the first tentative days of Christmas cards back in 1843 when the first one was produced in London by John Horsley for Civil Servant Sir Henry Cole. I do have to wonder if things haven't gone a bit too far, indeed, more than a bit over the top. I thought this the other evening at a Lions meeting when we each walked around the table handing out and receiving greetings cards. At least we only see each other on occasion, unlike colleagues in the work place. It seems to be de rigeur to write a card to everybody at work even though the people concerned will say goodbye on Christmas Eve and be back together on 27th December.
Now I'm not going on letting off steam about the sending of Christmas cards per se; indeed, I think they are a great invention. However, I do maintain they should be used much more sparingly. I am more than happy to send cards to friends and family members at a distance whom I will not see over the holiday - indeed, I positively like doing so. But if I am able to offer personal Christmas greetings and wishes, I see no need for a card.
And what about the message inside the card? Not the printed one but the message written by the sender. "Love from" is probably the most over-used and, at the same time, inappropriate phrase. And just who is the card from? "Doris, Jack, Ethel and Malcolm": I work with Doris, I know her husband is Jack, but Ethel and Malcolm? Her children whom I have never even spoken to, let alone met? They don't want to send me Christmas greetings never mind love!
But I almost forgot what I deem the worst faux pas of all: adding the cat's name. Bah humbug!
This is one of my favourite pictures of the year. It is a quiet square in Patcham (a suburb of Brighton) but really needs a boy or girl in Victorian dress with a hoop just to complete the scene - and the television aerial removing. I particularly like the delicate green of the young leaves with the brnches of the tree showing through as well as the contrast between the flint walls and the weatherboard, the slate rooves and the tiles..