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On Sunday, I did the unthinkable: I wrapped all of my Christmas presents and—while trying hard to follow the Pats game as the station cut from game to game—finished writing my Christmas cards.

Pile of presents

My early attempts at Christmas cards were rather special this year. I had picked up a package of blank note cards at the pound store (like a dollar store, only dearer). Then, in one of my favourite vintage finds of the fall, I stumbled upon someone’s collection of cigarette and tea cards.

From the series 'The Reign of H.M. King George V'

From the series ‘The Reign of H.M. King George V’

Produced between 1875 and the nineteen-forties, cigarette cards originally provided stiffening for cigarette packages. Usually printed in related series, such as ‘great baseball players’ or ‘famous castles and abbeys’, they soon became collectibles  They were discontinued during World War II to save paper and never regained their former status.

The back holds a brief historical note. It's like a tiny encyclopaedia page that fits in your pocket!

The back holds a brief historical note. It’s like a tiny encyclopaedia page that fits in your pocket!

Tea cards, a similar idea, were created with the intention of being collectible you can see adverts at the bottoms for albums to display them in—from the 1940s to the 1980s. I acquired a particularly interesting collection on clothing in the British Isles that details the particularly relevant details of each costume. 1967 is undoubtedly the funniest, if only because it’s so recent.

How to fit in in 1967. It's like a guide for time travellers.

How to fit in in 1967. It’s like a guide for time travellers. I like the part about ‘minimal underclothing’–very scientific. Like an anthropologist reporting on a strange culture (which it was).

Since I was making my Christmas presents already, I decided to sketch up some quick cards to go with them, incorporating my lovely vintage cards. (Naturally, they were less ‘quick’ than anticipated, but it was a nice break from studying.)

Don't laugh. I did my best.

Yes, the reindeer are pulling the lunar orbiter. Or something–I glued it before reading the back of the card. My scholarly instincts lost to the desire to get the cards to the states before Christmas. 

I’m not going to lie; most of my ‘research’ came from this page. I have enough book research to do as it is. 

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