Sunday, December 15, 2013

An assortment of holiday ephemera, including schlumbergera truncata

Here's a bit of a rogues gallery of holiday ephemera for a Sunday afternoon.

Art in America subscription form

This is a festive old "Christmas Gift Subscription Form" for Art in America magazine. A one-year subscription cost $10 and additional subscriptions were just $8. With rates like that, I'd guess this dates to the 1960s. (The magazine itself dates to 1913, by the way.1)

Today, a one-year subscription costs $34.95. The magazine, perhaps trying to stretch the definition of the word "art," recently published an essay about the television show Saved by the Bell.

International holiday stamps

As my Postcrossing cards continue to roll in, this past week's mail has included a pair of awesome holiday-themed stamps from the European nations of Belarus and Germany.

The Russian-language phrase on the first stamp means "Happy New Year!" It cropped up last December when I featured this postcard.

On the second stamp, Weihnachten is the German word for Christmas.

Christmas cactus card

Finally, here's a card from the 1978 set The Greenhouse, which was issued by the Western Publishing Company.

The cards came in a plastic green box like this (much like those Betty Crocker recipe sets).

The Christmas Cactus (also known as Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus) is a cultivar of the genus Schlumbergera.

According to the information on the reverse side of the card: "Christmas cactus ... is from the jungle, not the desert; it likes moisture and its name tells when it will flower. The pretty winter blossom this plant produces is a tubular flower that grows from the ends of the dipping long stems. The plant can bloom from Thanksgiving through Christmas and flowers in a series with one flower giving way to another."

Here's a Wikipedia list of other trees and plants associated with Christmas, including the yule log, mistletoe, radishes (yes, radishes), and the pōhutukawa tree of New Zealand.

1. Here is some more on the magazine's history, from its website: "Founded in 1913 by art critic, historian and collector Frederic Fairchild Sherman under founding editor Wilhelm R. Valentiner, A.i.A., in its early issues, focused on old masters in American collections. For much of the '20s, the magazine was named Art in America and Elsewhere, reflecting its increasing geographic reach."

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