It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
“Dot.calm” by Jane Silverman
Are you ready? Tis finally the season. Way too soon. I am woefully unprepared: holiday cards are unordered, gifts are still on the list, the decorations are in boxes and I am still recovering from Thanksgiving. Yet, magic is in the air… and Ocean Reef is glittering with red-bowed wreaths, bedazzled trees, and poinsettias abound (which you might like to know, was a plant popular with the Aztecs and brought from Mexico by John Roberts Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico; celebrate National Poinsettia Day on December 12!).
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Did you know that this week marks the 177th year since the very first Christmas card was sent? It was Christmas 1843 in Victorian England when Sir Henry Cole (founder of one of my favorite museums, the Victoria and Albert in London) realized he just had too many friends. While writing letters was always considered a fine art, the advent of the British postal system’s ‘penny post’ meant that anyone and everyone could reliably send a letter anywhere in the UK. Sir Cole, an original A-lister, was inundated with Christmas letters and came up with an etiquette shortcut. His artist friend, J.C. Horsley, helped him design what would become the very first Christmas card: a colorful triptych showing a family at Christmas with glasses of wine raised in a toast. Cole printed 1000 5”x3” cards on stiff cardboard. At the top of each was “TO:___” allowing Cole to personalize each card and send with the generic printed greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.”
Joy to the World
Thinking of going green and skipping the trip to the post office? A good place to start: www.ojolie.com/cards creates enchanting charmingly animated hand-painted ecards; www.paperlesspost.com emails beautifully designed cards with up to 6 photos that arrives in its own online envelope.
For printed cards with the option of ‘send back to me,’ ‘address for me,’ or ‘mail for me,’ I use www.Shutterfly.com or www.Moonpig.com. Other favorites are: www.minted.com, www.finestationary.com, and www.society6.com/cards/holiday.
For something really special, visit www.lovepopcards.com for intricate 3D paper sculptures designed by naval engineers on cutting-edge software and then handcrafted in the Asian art form of sliceform kirigami. Wow. They turn holiday cards into works of art (and they are worth every penny). The company was launched out of the Harvard Innovation Lab in late 2014. Since then, they have won award after award and appeared on season 7 of “Shark Tank,” where Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary became an investor.
O’ Christmas Tree
Finding a Christmas tree in sunny Florida can be a challenge, especially since you know they have been baking in the hot sun for ages. Ordering online means it will be cut, shipped, and delivered to your door within days of ordering. Try www.christmastreesinthemail.com, www.shadyresttreefarm.com, and www.williams-sonoma.com. For almost-real trees, www.target.com has a great selection of prelit and unlit realistic artificial trees in all sizes.
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
Ocean Reef’s Festival of Trees is underway until January 4 with delightfully decorated Christmas trees at the Tennis & Games Center, Ocean Reef Business Center, Key Largo Building, Palm Court, and Carysfort Hall Foyer. Take a selfie next to each, post it on Instagram or the Ocean Reef Facebook page www.facebook.com/OceanReefClub, and tag #ORTree.
All I Want for Christmas
If you are one of the few (like me) that did not buy your holiday gifts during T5 (the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday) then I highly recommend www.giftadvisor.com; your gift search is broken down by ages, relationships, personal interests, and prices with so many wonderful off the-beaten-track gift ideas.
The Find A Gift tab on the www.Amazon.com menu bar will lead you to a world of gift options with filters including age, gender, price, and categories like Oprah’s Favorite Things, Stocking Stuffers, and Must Have Gifts by Style Editors from top magazines. The Small Businesses category is a great way to support small businesses with nifty gift suggestions.
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis