Christmas Card Day
Sir Henry Cole hired painter and illustrator John Calcott Horsley to create a seasonal greeting to send to his friends and family. The lithograph edition of 1,000 depicted a scene of a merry family drinking at the dinner table. Only 20 of the original postcards were thought to have survived and the original proof was auctioned in 2005 for $16,000 according to USA Today. It's considered the world's first known Christmas card, according to the Greeting Card Association.
"Puritans objected to the picture showing people raising a glass to Christmas," according to the BBC, but the sentiment behind the card, "A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to You" and the tradition of sending Christmas cards has only grown. Christmas is the No. 1 card-sending holiday in the U.S. according to the GCA.
Christmas card statistics from the GCA:
* Approximately 1.5 billion cards are expected to be purchased in 2011.
* More than 2 billion boxed and individual Christmas cards were sold in the U.S. in 2010.
* Popular themes and images of 2011 Christmas cards include owls, nostalgic images and colors, and white flora and fauna.
Birdseye Birth Anniversary
The man who revolutionized the frozen food industry was born 125 years ago. On Dec. 9, 1886, Clarence Birdseye was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended Amherst College as a biology major but quit to work as a naturalist for the US government, according to MIT.
Living among the Native Americans in the Arctic he observed how the caught fish were instantly frozen thanks to "the combination of ice, wind and temperature." He applied this information and developed a way to "flash-freeze foods." Birdseye founded Birdseye Seafoods in 1924. Today Birdseye's frozen food line focuses on vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini.
So many ways to celebrate, so little time -- it's Pastry Day. You can enjoy one of the earliest known pastries, baklava, which dates to the Ancient Mediterranean, according to Food Timeline. Or indulge in a rich cinnamon bun at your favorite pastry shop.
Experiment with your own favorite pastry recipes:
* Add some oats to a pie crust, for fiber
* Use puff pastry in new ways
* Try some food pastry chef tricks to make it look professional
Petrified Forest National Park Established Anniversary
The location boasts 200-million-year-old fossils, petrified wood, a Painted Desert and archeological sites. On Dec. 9, 1962, the National Park Service established the Petrified Forest in Arizona. The site was already home to Arizona's Petrified Forest National Monument, proclaimed on Dec. 8, 1906. In addition to the Blue Mesa Member and evening-blooming plants, the park is home to Red-spotted Toads, bobcats and Sagebrush Lizards, according to the NPS.
- Society & Culture
- Christmas Card
- Clarence Birdseye