What do you know about Holiday Cards?
The Mini Page from our Houston Chronicle this week talked all about Christmas cards. The article was written by Betty Debnam. I thought it was intriguing enough to post.
Americans send out about 2 billion Christmas cards every year. People also send out Hanukkah and Kwanzaa cards. An Englishman named Henry Cole was the first to develop a Christmas card he could send to all his friends. In 1843 he was too busy to send out his own messages, so he hired an artist, John Calcott Horsley, to design a card. This card shows scenes of people feeding and clothing the needy. In the center a family celebrates the holiday. Sending Christmas cards has been a tradition ever since.
Some images, such as snowmen, Santa and trees, have been popular since the mid-1800’s. Other designs and colors change with the times. In the 1930’s, for example, people were just beginning to flock to movies. Firm stars such as Mickey Mouse were popular card images. In the 1940’s, during World War II, Christmas cards were filled with patriotic messages and the hope that the troops would come home. In the 1970’s, bright, psychedelic colors and peace symbols were popular. Cards honoring the birth of Christ did not become popular until the 1900’s. Today the Nativity is one of the most popular themes. Christmas cards make up 60 % of all holiday cards sold. More cards are sold for Christmas than for all other holidays combines.
New technology adds fun to holiday cards. In regular and e-mail cards, people can open a card and hear music or movie audio clips, or can see lights and moving figures. Experts say that e-mail cards have not seemed to cut into the sales of regular mail cards. The number of holiday cards mailed has been at about the same level for the last five years. (This statement surprised me because I thought with the price of a stamp, that the amount of cards mailed would have gone down. I do have to say that I mailed out about 60 cards this year.)
The Monday before Christmas is the busiest day of the year for mailing cards and packages. About 280 million cards and letters are usually mailed out that day. (Thank goodness I already have my packages and cards mailed.) This year, this busy day will be Dec. 18. The biggest day or the postal carriers delivering the mail is two days later.
Since 1962, the U.S. Postal service has created new winter holiday stamps each year. It issues a new traditional, religious Christmas stamp and new non-religious Christmas stamps every year. The Postal Service also has created special stamps for other winter holidays. The demand for these stamps is not as great as for the Christmas stamps, so the same designs may be re-issued several years in a row. The Postal Service designs its traditional Christmas stamps with works of art about the birth of Christ. Since 1978 the P.S. has chosen a work of art featuring the Madonna holding the baby Jesus. This year, the P.S. chose a painting by Ignacio Chacon, and artist in Peru in the mid-1700’s. This painting is now on display at the Denver Art Museum. This year the P.S. has also issued stamps for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and an Eid stamp for the Muslim World.
On a side note: I read an article in our Houston Chronicle food section several weeks ago about a “no knead” bread recipe that was developed by a baker. Evidentially it was so intriguing, and revolutionary, that it caused a real stir and it had a follow up article last Wednesday. I can’t wait to give this a try, this week, and then I will write about it on my blog.
Frig Clip from the Washington Post: What is the difference between Teflon and Silverstone pans?
Silverstone nonstick coating is made with Teflon (PTFE), plus another polymer called PFA. It can be treated the same as Teflon. A word to the wise: Cheap nonstick pans, being light and thin compared to heavy (and expensive) big-named brands, will heat unevenly, developing hot spots that mimic the heat pattern of the burner beneath. Even with food in the pan, these hot spots can reach Teflon-destroying temperatures, shortening the life of the pan and raising the probability of toxic-fume emissions.
Slice squash, up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Serve squash hot or at room temperature.
1) Vegetable oil, for baking sheets
2) 3 Acorn squash (about 1 ½ pounds each), halved, seeded and sliced into 1- inch thick crescents.
3) Coarse salt and ground black pepper.
4) ½ cup packed dark brown sugar.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and brush with oil.
Place squash on baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle squash as evenly as possible with ¼ cup sugar. Roast until sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.
Turn squash over. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with remaining ¼ cup sugar. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
Have a great week everyone!