My head wasn’t in the game today. I’m blaming my alarm for mistakenly going off at 5.30am. And the hoovering. And All The Other Stuff.
It’s St Lucy’s Eve, and I should have just left it with stuffing my face at teatime to protect me from her witch and fairy followers who don’t, for some reason, take kindly to those who go to bed tonight on an empty stomach. But instead, I decided today would be a perfect day to make a Victorian pin prick, or paper lace Christmas card.
The tradition of sending Christmas cards only goes as far back as 1843. Henry Cole, the founding director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London takes the credit for the first card sent. And turns out, it was a humble brag illustrated family selfie. So nothing much has changed in the intervening 177 years then.
I got the idea for this particular type of card from a video by English Heritage:
Prick out the shape on a bit of card, they said. They even provided templates. Which was a relief. My first idea had been to turn this feller into paper lace, but my preliminary sketches were so bad I can’t even bring myself to publish them on here.
Back to the English Heritage template of a Christmas tree. In the end, it was just a very dull occupation. And it hurt. The video said to use a drawing pin, but in my wisdom I decided that a quick unpick would be easier. But the pressure needed in order for the tip to go through the card left my fingers slightly bruised. To be fair, maybe if I’d had Holiday Inn or Die Hard on in the background I might have felt more in the festive mood. As it was I had the final episode of Tiger King on, which is not the least bit conducive to the season.
I did attempt a second one to show willing. This time it was a wreath and with flimsier card to help with the bruising. But by then my enthusiasm had waned and I stopped two thirds through. I’m blaming the alarm. And the hoovering. And All The Other Stuff. Which is a shame, as I was really looking forward to doing this one. And despite everything, the result is rather pretty.
The Everyday Lore Project has been running since St Distaff’s Day on 7 January 2020 and will run until 12th Night on 6 January 2021. Which is less than a month to go. And would you believe I still have gaps in my daily folklore schedule despite it being the season to be jolly (something that totally passed me by today)? So if you can recommend a tradition, no matter how small or personal, or gigantic and national, let me know and I’ll give it a go. And given there are so few days left, now is the perfect time to subscribe!
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc