Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Oldest Mass-Produced Christmas Card

Oldest Mass-Produced Christmas Card
Part of Bridwell Library Collection

John Calcott Horsley. [Christmas Card]. "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." 82 x 130 mm. [London: J. C. Horsley. 1843]

"What is believed to be one of the first mass-produced Christmas cards -- dating back more than 160 years -- can be found among the extensive special collections of Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology.

The lithographed card caused a controversy in some quarters of Victorian English society when it was published in 1843 because it prominently features a child taking a sip from a glass of wine.

Approximately 1,000 copies of the card were printed but only 10 have survived to modern times. Bridwell Library acquired its copy in 1982. The card was designed for Henry Cole by his friend, the English painter John Calcott Horsley (1808-1882). Cole wanted a ready-to-mail greeting card because he was too busy to engage in the traditional English custom of writing notes with Christmas and New Year's greetings to friends and family.

The card pre-dated color printing so it was hand-colored. The card is divided into three panels with the center panel depicting a family drinking wine at a celebration and the flanking panels illustrating charitable acts of feeding and clothing the poor. The greeting reads: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."

Cole, who also wrote and published Christmas books, printed more cards than he needed so he sold the extra cards for one shilling each. Bridwell Library's card was signed by Cole and addressed to the engraver of the card, John Thompson (1785-1866).

Widespread commercial printing of Christmas cards began in the 1860s, when a new process of color printing lowered the manufacturing cost and the price. Consequently, the custom of sending printed Christmas greetings spread throughout England. The first American Christmas card dates from about 1850 and resembles Horsley's design".

Source: Southern Methodist University

Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Card Recycling Scheme

Building on the success of recycling 73.6 million cards in 2008, the Woodland Trust are once again running their Christmas Card recycling scheme.

The British public’s efforts last year helped collect 73.6 million cards, bringing the Christmas Card Recycling Scheme’s 12 year total to 600 million cards recycled. This has enabled the Woodland Trust to plant 141,000 trees, save 12,000 tonnes of paper from going to landfill, and stop 16,000 tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking more than 5,0002, cars off the road for a year.

The Woodland Trust was established in 1972 and now owns more than 1,000 woods throughout the UK, which are open free for all to enjoy.

What is the aim of the scheme?

To raise money for the Trust to plant trees throughout the UK. If everyone recycles just one Christmas card at WHSmith, Tesco, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer stores throughout January, the Woodland Trust will be able to plant 15,000 trees to create UK woodland. Planting 15,000 trees would be enough to create a wood the size of 30 football pitches.
To raise the profile of, and highlight the environmental benefits of, recycling. Recycling helps to tackle climate change. Waste sent to landfill can create methane – a powerful greenhouse gas. If we all recycle just one card this Christmas this would save 1,570 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases – the same as taking 500 cars off the road for a year.

To raise the profile of the Woodland Trust and the UK’s need for more trees. The UK needs many more trees. Trees are the lungs of the planet by turning CO2 into oxygen, yet the UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe with just 12% woodland cover compared to the European average of 44%. Just 4% of this is wildlife rich broadleaf woodland which the Woodland Trust aims to double.


WHSmith, Tesco, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer stores throughout January.

The Woodland Trust - is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. It has 300,000 members and supporters.
The Trust has four key aims:

i) No further loss of ancient woodland
ii) Restoring and improving the biodiversity of woods

iii) Increasing new native woodland

iv) Increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of woodland.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Christmas is the pathway to hell cards - Availability: Nil

Anjem Choudary, muslim lawyer, shares humanist christmas thoughts, cheerily extends goodwill to all mankind, gently reminds of Hellfire

'In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in Western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas,'

'Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners.

'Decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah

'How can a Muslim possibly approve or participate in such a practice that bases itself on the notion Allah has an offspring?

'The very concept of Christmas contradicts and conflicts with the foundation of Islam.

'Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas, because its observance will lead to hellfire.

'Protect your Paradise from being taken away - protect yourself and your family from Christmas.

Source: Mail Online

Cool Cards comment:
Jesus H. Christ, these zany statements have done nothing to help the greeting card industry at all. There's not one snappy one-liner in there that we could make use of in our forthcoming "happy non-muslim christmas" card range. We feel he's let us down on this occasion.

From our publishers:
L.J.K. Setright Productions:
No way!

Arthouse blooms:
We're sad end.

Happy as Larry Cliffhangers:
Whatever floats/sinks your boat...

R.D. Evolutions:

P.C. Publications (New York):
Get the fuck outa here.

D.S. Design (Nashville):
He's got a chocolate santa up his arse hasn't he?

Evil Mad Scientist Christmas Cards

Homemade Christmas cards: The evil mad scientist laboratory way...

"Make your own edge-lit holiday cards using LEDs, plastic, paper, electrical tape, batteries, a pen, scissors, and a hobby knife.

For our LED setup, we're using a classic "LED Throwie" arrangement-- an ultrabright LED is attached directly to the leads of a CR2032 lithium coin cell. When the bright LED is pointed at the edge of the plastic, it travels through cleanly but lights up the areas that we've scratched.

So we have the light going into the edge of the plastic. Next we need to (1) hold the LED there and (2) restrict light from going in directions that we don't want. We can accomplish both of these goals by using black electrical tape to hold the LED in place. We start by putting down a piece of tape, sticky side up, and sticking the plastic plate and the LED to it. Next we add a matching piece of tape on top, forming a tight seal around the LED but keeping it pointing into the plastic.

If you insert a piece of black paper behind the clear plastic, you might find that it improves the contrast".

Source: Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Friday, 5 December 2008

Fair Trade Charity Christmas Cards

Sreepur Village Fair Trade Handmade Charity Christmas Cards

If you pride yourself on buying Christmas cards that donate the greatest possible sums to charity, here's your chance to go one step further. The organisers of a group that helps orphans and destitute woman in Bangladesh are now selling a range of Christmas cards in which the maximum possible amount goes to the charity concerned - because the recipients themselves make the cards.

Critics have long been concerned about charity cards from which only a few pennies reach the charity. The Charities Advisory Trust said last week more than 80% of charity cards sold on the high street give less than a tenth of the price to charity. Almost half of all cards sold donate less than 5%. Some charity cards now selling in Harrods give just 3.9% of the sticker price.

The trust advises consumers to seek out charities' own cards, which donate at least 40% of the sale price, but now you can go as close to the full 100% as possible.

The Sreepur Village outreach project is offering handmade cards produced in and around their village, 40km north of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The women make the cards at home using paper made from locally grown jute. They are paid a fair wage, and it allows them to earn an income without having to leave their young children.

The paper is very high quality and the cards are decorated with wheat straw. Last year the project was awarded fair-trade status. Once made, the cards are shipped to the UK free of charge by British Airways, whose staff have supported the charity since it was set up 20 years ago by Pat Kerr, one of its flight attendants.

At £13.50 for 16 cards delivered to a UK address, they are not the cheapest on the market, but how many other cards are handmade by the people they aim to help?

To buy them you have to use the charity's website, sreepurcards.org. Payments are simple and quick via PayPal - yes we've tried it - and no account is required. The charity promises the cards will be sent on the same day the order is placed.

Former BA pilot and the man who sends out the cards, Rob Jenkinson says the project changes lives. "There are 500 abandoned children and 100 destitute women supported by the project. The women of this community have tough lives, bringing up families on less than £5 per week. Job opportunities are few, so the income they generate by making the cards saves lives. If they want to work in the garment factories they face a walk of several miles and an eight-hour shift, six days a week - all for about £15 a month."

If you want to support a different charity, the Charities Advisory Trust suggests you avoid most of the cards in big high street stores.

Last week it gave its annual Scrooge of the Year award to Harrods, and its Georgy Porgy award for greed went to Cards Galore. Of its range of 171 charity cards, 147 gave less than 10% to charity.

The trust says all cards are required to say on the back what proportion of the card's price goes to charity. Within the same store, the amounts can vary from card to card. It found that in John Lewis, most of its charity cards give a creditable 25%, but for others on the same shelf it was closer to 10%. At House of Fraser the cards donate between 7% and 10%.

Source: Guardian

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Order of St. Nick Finds Niche With "Atheist Christmas Cards"

Greeting Card Company Order of St. Nick Finds Niche With "Atheist Christmas Cards"

IOWA CITY, IA, Dec 01, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Do atheists celebrate Christmas? Famous atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris do, and humorous greeting card publisher Order of St. Nick is betting that millions more do as well. The company has just expanded its selection of "atheist Christmas cards," available for sale online at :


The cards feature a mix of standard atheist iconography such as Charles Darwin and evolutionary monkeys, along with tongue-in-cheek sayings such as "Evolve Your Beliefs." Another card, featuring a red-nosed reindeer, reads, "The red nose isn't weird... It's an evolutionary advantage."

"Nearly 15% of Americans identify themselves as 'non-religious,' but surveys have consistently shown that 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas," says Andrew Shaffer, Order of St. Nick's owner and creative director. "That's nearly 30 million atheists, agnostics, secularists, skeptics, and humanists who are being overlooked by mainstream card companies at this time of the year.

"Christmas is a federal holiday in the United States. Every year it grows increasingly secularized, for better or for worse," says Shaffer. "Rather than feeling like outcasts around the holiday season, it's clear that atheists are already joining in on the celebration. Why not openly embrace them in the spirit of the season?"

Marketing industry maven Brandweek Magazine agrees. "In these new times, everyone should be accommodated in their beliefs and traditions, so there might well be a place for the Order of St. Nick cards," they stated in a December 2007 review of the greeting cards on their online Short Takes column.

"We've tried to keep the cards light-hearted and fun," says Shaffer. "They're not for everyone, but so far the response has been very positive." Scientist PZ Myers has praised the cards on his popular blog, Pharyngula, and two Order of St. Nick designs are featured in the December issue of the U.K.'s STUFF magazine.

Eight different designs in all are available for sale online at www.AtheistHolidayCards.com. Consumers can buy the cards individually for $3.99 or in boxed sets of 10 for $18.99. International shipping options are available; U.K. customers can also order the cards via www.CoolCards.co.uk.

About Order of St. Nick
Order of St. Nick is a greeting card publisher specializing in funny Christmas cards ( www.orderofstnick.com). Online orders are fulfilled by Cafepress.com. Order of St. Nick is a privately-owned small business headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa.

Media Contact:
Andrew Shaffer
Order of St. Nick
Email Contact
SOURCE: Marketwatch