2    Nov 20151 comment

Your Holiday Cards: We want to see them!

Excitement builds as we approach the holidays and preparations get underway. Family holiday cards are a longstanding Christmas tradition, and to many, an integral part of the lead-up to the holiday season. Each year, over 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the US alone.

The very first Christmas card was commissioned by a UK government worker, Sir Henry Cole, in 1843 when he was too busy to write to his friends himself. Printed in black and white, they were originally colored by hand.

Only a handful of the 1,000 originally printed were sold, probably because of their prohibitively expensive price of one shilling.

It was only many years later that the tradition caught on. Sending cards became even more popular in Victorian times (1870s) when the cost of mailing Christmas cards dropped to a half-penny.

In the US, the first Christmas cards were produced in the late 1840s, but were too expensive for most people. They became more affordable in 1875, when a German printer began mass-producing them. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest sellers of Christmas cards today!

Here at MyHeritage, we're searching for your oldest family Christmas card. What's the oldest Christmas card that you have in your family? Send it to us at stories@myheritage.com.

17    Dec 20120 comments

Sleigh Bells Ring: Holiday music

What is it about holiday music? Those catchy tunes we can’t get out of our head? The musical notes that bring us back to earlier times?

It really doesn’t matter if the listener celebrates Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza; that winter music - religious or secular - just gets deep inside our bones. Important family events take place at the holidays, and a particular song may bring back all kinds of warm, fuzzy memories.

A favorite of mine is "Sleigh Ride," in the instrumental version by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Written by Leroy Anderson in 1948, Mitchell Paris added the lyrics in 1950. Here's the story behind the song. It is considered one of the top 10 most popular Christmas songs ever, even though the holiday is never mentioned in the lyrics.

Continue reading "Sleigh Bells Ring: Holiday music" »

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