Monday, 17 December 2007

We wish you a Mary Christmas - 1914


Princess Mary
In 1914, a lesser-known Member of the Royal family, Princess Mary, the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, went to great efforts to ensure that troops felt appreciated and not forgotten over the Christmas period.

The Princess's wish was that every serviceman stationed overseas during the first Christmas of the First World War would receive a message and gift from the nation, via the Royal Family. The fund which she instigated inspired the creation of one of the most enduring mementos of the First World War - Princess Mary's Gift Box.

The Princess, who was just 17 when war broke out, was moved by the plight of the troops and by the thought of them spending Christmas away from their families. She decided to pay, out of her private allowance, for a personal gift to each soldier and sailor.

"I want you now to help me to send a Christmas present from the whole of the nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front. I am sure that we should all be happier to feel that we had helped to send our little token of love and sympathy on Christmas morning, something that would be useful and of permanent value, and the making of which may be the means of providing employment in trades adversely affected by the war. Could there be anything more likely to hearten them in their struggle than a present received straight from home on Christmas Day?

Please will you help me?"

The smokers' gift': an embossed brass box, one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, Christmas card and photograph. The Christmas card reads 'With best wishes for a happy Christmas and victorious New Year, from The Princess Mary and friends at home.

© The Imperial War Museum

The contents of the giftbox
It was decided that the majority of recipients would be given an embossed brass box, one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, a Christmas card from the King and Queen and a photograph of Princess Mary.

However, there were to be some exceptions. The committee agreed that non-smokers should be regarded as a special group and would receive the brass box, a packet of acid tablets, a khaki writing case containing pencil, paper and envelopes together with the Christmas card and photograph.

The committee was also obliged to consider the tastes of other minority groups and it was recognised that if the dietary rules of various religious groups were to be respected, changes would have to be made in the gifts intended for Indian troops.

'The India Committee' was set up, comprising 5 senior Army officers with experience of working with Indian soldiers. They decided that the Gurkhas would receive the same gift as the British troops; Sikhs would receive a box filled with sweets, a tin box of spices and the Christmas card and all other Indian troops would receive the box with a packet of cigarettes and sugar candy, a tin box of spices and the card.

Nurses at the front in France would be given the box, a packet of chocolate and the Christmas card from the King and Queen.

Via: Royal Insight
Also: Kinnethmont
Also: National World War One Museum

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Recycle Christmas Cards - Woodland Trust

In 2007 the Woodland Trust recycled 93 million Christmas cards, the equivalent of 1,844 tonnes.

From the 2nd to the 31st January 2008, help the Woodland Trust reach their target of recycling 100 Million Christmas cards in order to plant 24,000 trees this year!

It is estimated that 1 billion Christmas cards (17 for every woman, man and child) could end up in bins across the UK (Defra) this Christmas
• One fifth of the contents of household dustbins consists of paper and card
• UK produces more than 434 million tonnes of waste every year. This quantity of rubbish would fill the Albert Hall in London in less than 2 hours
• On average, each person in the UK produces 500 kilos of household waste per year. This weighs the same as three and a half million double-decker buses, a queue of which would stretch from London to Sydney (Australia) and back.

The Woodland Trust

Monday, 10 December 2007

Vintage Christmas Cards

Best Wishes for the New Year

Distance parts,
Fond hearts unite,
However far away.

"Get into the festive spirit with these stunning Christmas themed items including postcards, stationary and greetings cards."

The Traditional Collection from the Christmas Items Collection at the Bath Postal Museum

Vintage Christmas Cards

A Joyous Christmas Tide

At current count, around 1500 Vintage Christmas Postcards available from

A fascinating slice of the history, style and presentation of Christmas postcards throughout the world.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Creative Christmas Cards

An interesting seasonal piece from Lifehacker
"If you send out Christmas cards every year, you know that buying cards can be a spendy endeavor. So in the spirit of saving money this holiday season but not skimping on the cool-factor of your cards, we're rounding up a few very cool, very 3-D DIY Christmas cards that'll help you spread a little holiday cheer without breaking the bank."

And yet more ideas for creating some very cool cards...

A great pop-up resource from
Robert Sabuda
Learn how to make this 3D greeting card pop-up xmas tree among many other ideas.

Free Pop Up Font
Inspired by the work of Masahiro Chatani in his book "Pop-up Greeting Cards"
Learn how to create your own 3D pop-up text greeting cards (if you manage to somehow create the above xmas card, send it in, you're a genius).

Pop-up cards at Cool Cards

"Pop-up Card Designer is a Windows application, which generates unfolded pattern of Pop Up Cards. With simple interface, you can get unfolded pattern of your original Pop Up Cards."

So now you know. Have a play!

Let us know how you get on!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Cards Blessed by Church of Enlgand

Talk about a Bandwagon...

"A selection of Christmas greetings cards blessed by the Church of England is set to take the social networking site Facebook by snowstorm this Advent."

"The virtual cards, based on religious themes, can be sent on with a personalised message and are freely available to any of the seven million active users in the UK registered on Facebook."

"The Church of England has worked in partnership with Rechord – a leading web design agency in London, specialising in social networking and web applications for charities – to create the environmentally-friendly virtual cards. The designs feature colourful animations representing key elements of the nativity story, including the journey of the wise men to see the ‘new born King’."
Source : The Church of England

"The idea for the Facebook application follows last year’s Church of England online Advent calendar, (from Rechord : "Would you like a site that not only increases traffic, but persuades your visitors to act?") which received wide media coverage and around 1,000 unique visitors each day during December."

"The slightly not so good thing is that receivers of cards will need to add the application, which they may not wish to do. Adding Facebook applications is of course a bit of a privacy risk as you are giving your information to a third party (the creator of the application) about whom you know nothing. I am of course willing to give the Church of England my information, but not everyone will be."

"Of course if you are a real luddite you could send them an actual card made out of card in the style of yesteryear."

Source : Episcopal Cafe

Also from : Cartoon Church

Coincidence - Cartoon Church Christian greeting cards delightfully reminiscent of Cool Cards Edward Monkton

Rechord deface York Minster Dec. 2006. (Well we never claim to be cutting edge...)

Poet Confidential

"I was a professional greeting card writer."

Shameful confessional from poet Nancy Breen :

"I don't mean I wrote and submitted greeting card verses on the side for extra cash."

"I did like it. I was good at it, too. However, by the end of the first year, I began to yearn to do something of a utilitarian nature, like filing or processing paperwork. Sitting at my desk all day long trying to come up with new ways of saying "Happy Birthday" without using the words "Happy Birthday" became deadening. And my creative juices dried up from writing on demand five days a week."

"The more I wrote verses (and I had to produce daily), the less poetry I wrote. I've never entirely recovered. I don't find the joy in sitting down to tackle a poem that I once did."


Seeking Freelance Greeting Card Writers

All you aspiring greeting card writers... a Job advert from Blue Mountain Arts.

"Blue Mountain Arts is interested in reviewing writings for publication on greeting cards. We are looking for highly original and creative submissions on friendship, family, special occasions, positive living, and other topics one person might want to share with another person. Submissions may also be considered for inclusion in book anthologies. We pay $300 per poem for all rights to publish it on a greeting card and $50 if your poem is used only in an anthology. To request a copy of our writer’s guidelines (which include contact/submission information), please send a blank e-mail to with “Send Me Guidelines” in the subject line, or write us at: Blue Mountain Arts, Inc. Editorial Department P.O. Box 1007 Boulder, CO 80306. You can also visit our website at"