Christmas cards

A Plea For No Christmas Letters

The holiday has been put away. The wreath is turning brown. Town Christmas tree pick-up began last week. It is time to head to the Met to buy next year’s cards at half-price in the museum store. The general run of  contemporary Christmas mailings ranks low on any measure of cultural exchange. It is not nostalgia that sends me hunting for cards with older images. It is the clear, transparent fact that the graphics of a previous generation addressed themselves to the eye—and the spirit—with an intelligence that is fast disappearing from our sensibilities. Continue Reading
Christmas Cards, A Tour

They get into your blood after awhile, all our sugared Christmas images—candied madonnas, honeyed bambini, angels that look like Vienna choir boys. One more cottage-in-the-Shire, with glitter on the snow-covered roof and a lantern in the window, and I will need an insulin injection. This 19th C. lithograph below came just in time. It dates from the days, long-forgotten now, that smart-mouthed cubs—little incorrigibles—could find a lump of coal in their stockings. That was before self-esteem was sacralized and any offense against it risked being reported to social services and deemed actionable. Continue Reading