Secret groups, police operations and high-tech tests are usually not associated with Christmas cards. But these and other facts give this holiday tradition its peculiar side. The cards also have enemies among health professionals and astronomers, while historians use them to mark events like the JFK attack. Then there are people who should really stop taking family photos for their Christmas cards.
See also: 10 lifelike Christmas miracles
10 The moon is almost always wrong
We can always rely on experts to point this out with eagle eyes. In this case, astronomers looked at the moon. Not the one in the sky. Nope. They turned from their telescopes and examined some Christmas cards up close. They didn't have to look far to find comic moons. Many of the pictures showed night scenes. For the most part, they studied Christmas books and wrapping paper. The study found that the phases and positions of the moon were often incorrect.
It all started when an astronomer named Peter Barthel noticed the impossible moons on a Unicef Christmas card from 2010 and a popular electronic advent calendar. The map showed children decorating a tree and the calendar featured people singing. Both scenes showed a waning crescent. The latter gets up at three in the morning, an unlikely time to sing to your neighbor or have children arrange tinsel.
Barthel focused on pictures from the USA and the Netherlands. These two countries have shaped today's view of Christmas – and up to 65 percent of their moons were wrong. As innocent as these mistakes seem, Barthel believes that artists have to pull their socks up, honor science, and show the right phases.
9 The first card
Printed Christmas cards are only 176 years old. The first was published in 1843 and colored by hand. Sold for a shilling, it triggered a global industry that still exists today. Only 1,000 were printed in the first year and 21 survived.
The designer was Henry Cole and the illustration was made by John Callcott Horsley. The picture shows a happy family drinking wine at a table with the words "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for you". Cole's original evidence is now in a private collection and is one of the cards recently awarded to the Charles Dickens Museum in London, showing that it was originally purchased and sent to a couple by her son.
The year 1843 was an important time that shaped Christmas. The card phenomenon not only started, but Charles Dickens also published his famous book. A Christmas song. The story was adapted for the viewers in countless TV specials and films as December food. The novel and the first card that showed up at the same time were coincidences. Neither Cole nor Dickens knew that they would change Christmas forever.
8 The JFK cards
In November 1963, the presidential couple John and Jacqueline Kennedy were full of vacation plans. They wanted to spend Thanksgiving with his family in Massachusetts and then enjoy Christmas in Palm Beach. But first they had to move through five cities without knowing that JFK was going to be murdered in Dallas.
Before leaving, the Kennedys received their annual Christmas cards. The package was individually printed by Hallmark. The cover showed a photo of the Neapolitan creche from the 18th century from the east room of the White House. Inside was a stamped seal and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. As always, it was planned to send them to their friends and acquaintances. They signed around 75 cards and decided to leave the rest until they returned from a tour of Texas.
Due to the murder of JKF, the cards were never sent out. These presidential moments are considered rare today, and one of them can be seen at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
7 The Terrible Fiore Family
In fairness, the Fiore family is pretty safe. Provided you don't scare them if they have guns. The moment they took their 2015 Christmas card photo was definitely not a good time to argue with them. Four generations set up an arsenal that made Santa think twice about visiting midnight.
At the center was Michele Fiore, a Republican meeting woman from Nevada. In front of her, a real Walther p. 22 completed the costume of Jake, her 5-year-old grandson. Fiore's mother was standing next to her and the older woman looked a little tense as she held her Extar EXP556. Other family members held their own firearms or had weapons strapped to their bodies.
The map caused a stir. Unfortunately for the Las Vegas Republican, the attention was not positive. Fiore was not bothered. In response, she told Fox News that giving and receiving firearms as a Christmas present is a perfectly sensible thing. This may not come as a surprise when you consider that she previously threatened to shoot Syrian refugees in the head and her desire to see students carry weapons on campus.
6 A unique fossil swap
When fossil researchers exchange Christmas cards, it becomes strange. Indeed, for decades, two colleagues have been sending each other December wishes with tiny marine animals. Edward Heron-Allen and Arthur Earland were two volunteers at the Natural History Museum in London.
In the early 20th century, they cataloged and described ancient Foraminifera fossils. Her work on unicellular organisms made her famous among modern scientists. Your collection of slides with hundreds of species is still valuable. But it was her habit to use excess Foraminifera fossils to make Christmas foils together, which made her story so fascinating. In fact, their fossil "maps" are unique.
Earland and Heron-Allen have been cheering with their slides for over 25 years. But Heron-Allen was a lawyer and scholar and was very honored for his work with Foraminifera. While Earland's work was just as good, he wasn't offered the same awards and promotions. For most, he was nothing more than his day job – a postal worker. Things are sour and interestingly, the downward spiral of their friendship can be seen on the slides. Each year, fossil maps became less elaborate and simple until they stopped.
5 You will survive the digital age
You can forgive that the Christmas card is doomed to fail. After all, there are thousands of free digital cards that can be sent at the push of a button. Who is bothered to put a card in an envelope, lick the flap, knock on stamps and send it out like a caveman? Apparently a lot of people.
The trend developed in an interesting way. The cheap ticket sales are declining, but not the expensive ones. Right, Christmas cards survive the digital competition by becoming an elite object. A 2016 survey found that 105 million cards had been sold, each of which was purchased as a single exclusive gift worth £ 184 million in the UK.
More people like to send or receive customized cards. Artists sell their handmade unique pieces online or through retail stores. The price can go up to £ 18.95. The steep label only promotes the new value of tradition as a fashion gift and something that remains very personal. As breathtaking as digital maps are, none contains a handwritten message with ink on paper.
4 The Image Upsets Health Experts of Santa
In 2009 the inevitable happened. Health experts glanced at Santa Clause's funny attitude and concluded that the man was not a role model for children. A particularly vocal doctor was Dr. Nathan grills from Australia. While his views were logical, his suggestions were a little strange.
Grills accused Santa of promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. The icon was obese and had no problem accelerating with its vehicle. Since many cards depict him with a pipe, Grills also said that Santa Claus is basically a free tobacco advertisement. Worse, Santa is a drunk driver. According to literature and tradition, brandy is given to him as a gift. Billions of houses correspond to billions of fires. Santa's blood alcohol level would set a breathalyzer on fire.
According to Grill's assessment, this careless subject promotes people's behavior during the holiday season. He claimed the opposite was possible that Santa Claus had the power to change countless lives for the better. In fact, a study has shown that millions of children take the red-clad figure very seriously. But Grill's proposal for Santa's new image may never prevail. According to him, Santa should be depicted as a slim man on a treadmill.
3 Police warn shoplifters with cards
Most people who send Christmas envelopes keep an address book. Inside, they dutifully note the friends and family who receive a card. The police in Northern Ireland also have an address book with a list. However, your festive-themed cards have a very different purpose.
Criminals love Christmas. Shoplifters in particular are enthusiastic about the fixed offers. Not surprisingly, there has been a significant increase in shoplifting during this time. The Irish police decided to try an unusual tactic. Operation Nutmeg went into action in 2016. In essence, the project aimed to keep people from hiding things in their long coats and going out without pay.
The names and addresses belonged to known perpetrators. The most productive pince-nez were given a Christmas card, but instead of seasonal requests, they were warned that the police would be watching them.
2 A microscopic Christmas message
Combine 200 of the world's smallest Christmas cards and it will cover the area of a stamp. As an idea of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom, the card is measured in micrometers. Just to underline how small it is – a micron is a millionth of a meter. The map was created in 2017 and was 15 microns (0.015 millimeters) wide and 20 microns (0.02 mm) high. It was thinner than a human hair.
The map can only be seen under a microscope. It shows a happy snowman and the words "Christmas greetings". Incredibly, the tiny message can be opened. Inside are the words "From NPL". To make the card, the researchers selected a membrane made of silicon nitride and coated it with an excruciatingly thin layer of platinum. An ion beam that used fast moving particles engraved the message and design.
The exercise was not a bizarre waste of laboratory hours. The materials and tools used to create the map were a test run to refine technologies in the micrometer range. Successful miniaturization always improves the areas of electronics and medicine. In this case, it broke a world record and brought the sensitive technology one step closer to general use.
1 The only photo of a secret meeting
In 1938 a group arrived at a manor house in England. For the casual observer, the 150 men and women came to Bletchley Park for a weekend party. But the light-heartedness and intermingling was a disguise. In reality, the guests were code breakers from M16 and the Government Code and Cypher School.
The gathering was a crucial operation to crack Italian naval codes. Their work before and during World War II was so important that historians believe that the so-called "Captain Ridley & # 39; s Shooting Party" could have shortened the war by two years. Because of the secret nature of their work, the codebreakers were never put on a pedestal in public.
There were no photos from the meeting until a Christmas card appeared. In recent years, the daughter of a code breaker has found the card between her mother's belongings. It was an easy thing. The blue paper was nondescript with a photo on the envelope showing people on the lawn in front of Bletchley Park. The cliché message was: "I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."
Experts believe that this was intentionally banal. The person who wanted to send the card was Lady Evelyn Sinclair, the sister of the M16 boss. She turned to the subtle but heartfelt thanks for the team's work on Codebreaker Joan Wingfield.