I was going to spend some time talking about the historical St Nicholas of Myra, but Chris Sims did it better. In the context of explaining how Santa could beat up Batman, but wouldn’t, because they’re both good guys, no less.
Victorian Christmas cards are weird. Enjoy them. Christmas cards are one of those artefacts of modernity — people bitch and moan about how no one sends them anymore, but of course no one sent them for ages; they’re very much a Victorian thing, prompted basically by the invention of the postage stamp. It’s one of those things you don’t think about, but it made a huge difference to the 19th century. I have an early 19th-c. almanac, an incredibly generous gift from a good friend, and one of the things that it devotes a fair bit of time to is explaining how postage works. It was complicated back in the day.
This is turning into a fair old Christmas grab-bag, so I’m just going to talk about my Christmas plans a bit. I have, wonder of wonders, a few weeks off work, absent a little exam-marking and lesson prep for the history class, so I’m going to be devoting it to catching up on my reading. I doubt I will be able to finish Argall, which my brother got me for Christmas last year and which I haven’t even started primarily because it’s too big to take on the bus conveniently and I’m afraid I’ll drop it if I read it in the bath. The first book of the lot I read, The Ice-Shirt, makes other books I have read about the early medieval period written by modern authors look like some old bullshit. It is stark and scary and good.
What else? I’m thinking of adding another weekly feature in the new year; Free Stuff Friday kind of got away from me, but maybe something like Thing-a-Thursday, in which I talk about a specific artefact once a week, or something like that. We shall see.
A more content-ful update soon.