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Alexis' 2005 Christmas Letter
A Greek pop-up Christmas card for you download and create
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A 1950's Greek Pop-up Christmas Card—A Free Download from Crechamania.com—brings greetings in English, and other languages.




The card front with "Happy Holidays," in Greek.


In my youth, in Greece, I always received a nativity sheet as a present, and it's always a delight to get a new nativity for Christmas. Even better when there's a sweet note inside from a seller:

"With a name like Crechemania.com you must really love creches," writes Denise Saupe of Minneapolis. I am pleased as punch that this Victorian nativity scene will be yours and now a part of your Crechemania.com collection. Your site is such great vehicle to share the love of the nativity."

When I was child, I had to share my nativity—and Christmas cookies—with my little brother.

Our home was filledwith the sweet smell of wood smoke and mom's koulourákia.

And, if I was lucky,I found the small coinbaked—for good luck—in the Vasilópitta (St. Basil's Bread).

In our village, everyone gave each other their best wishes. But in the city, where I moved when I was nine-years-old, theremight be a few drachmas left over for a paper nativity for a child,
and a Christmas card for friends and far-away family members.

I remember seeing these cards in bookstore windows, and I was thrilled to recently find almost 100 of them in Athen's Flee market, Monastiraki, Greece's attic.

These cards featured greetings of theseason and a pop-up scene, and usually featured a scroll on the
back where you could write your holiday wishes. One such—almostfifty-year-old—touching sentiment is written on the back of Crechemania's2005 Christmas card: Dear Mr. Dimitris, to you and your Family we wishthat the Holidays pass in health, hapiness, and joy; and we hope theNew Year brings all that you wish. With Great Regard, Family G. Moutziou.

The card opens to reveal an unusual 3-Dimensional scene of the Virgin,Child, & Santa. I knew that I had to share it with you, but I didn'tcount on a busier-than-usual travel schedule. Or a marathon stretch of
jet lag when work took me from England to Australia and back home inthe Midwest.

Everything here is covered by a glistening blanket of snow, and themercury has dipped below zero. Time to curl up and sleep my jet lagaway? Not quite: an email from Brazil, from our Creche Guild friendCelso Rosa, reminded me that Christmas is not far off: "I've justdownloaded all the creches available on your site," Celso writes, "andwas wondering, how do you go about creating a download file? Maybe I
could include one of my fold-out creches in the CrechemaniaDownloads?" And he just had to sign off, "Warmest Regards from Sunnyland."

Soon, these huge files—600 d.p.i., 100% magnification, in case you'dlike to become a Download Contributor—began stacking up in my inbox.Here was a most cordial enthusiast south of the Equator sharing hiscollection, and all I, Crechmania's Download-Creator-in-Chief, wantedto do is get some sleep. But I did have a few—pardon the pun—cards upmy sleeve.

As I searched my files for the Greek Christmas card, the thoughtoccured to me to make available in different languages. Since I wasalreading talking with Celso, he was the first to offer Season'sGreetings in Portuguese: "Merry Christmas & Happy New Year is "FelizNatal & Bom Ano Novo;" "Boas Festas" means "Happy Holidays."

Soon, other voices joined in: "I love the card and, if I may suggest,you should consider making it a
yearly thing," writes Denis Faille from Canada. "Of course it would begreat to be able to make some crechemania cards with wishes in French.Merry christmas: Joyeux Noël, Happy new Year: Bonne année (no capitalletter on the second word in this case); if you put them together, thetradition (at least in French Canada) goes this way: Joyeux Noël etbonne et heureuse année. I hope you won't have problems with the
diacritics."

Denis' mention of diacritical markings brought to mind the acutes,graves, circumflexes, rough and soft breathing marks and took me backto my school days, when I learned to spell with tiny pebbles on the
floor. (There were six grades in our one-room schoolhouse, andblackboard space was at a premium.) But before I had a chance to slipinto the arcane rules of Greek grammar—the penultimate syllable, when
accented, never reca circumflex"(a tilde-like diacritical mark),Annelies de Kort's Season's Greetings arrived from Holland:

"Alexis, here in The Netherlands we say: Prettige Kerstdagen en eenGelukkig Nieuwjaar. Roman Cathlics used to say: Zalige Kerstdagen eneen Gelukkig Nieuwjaar. Best Wishes, Annelies."

So now we had English, Greek, Portuguese, French, and Dutch. Whatabout German? The least I could do for all those wonderful crechesfrom Germany's gifted artists and artisans is include German in ours.A few clicks later, Crechemania's link took me to a Web tranlationpage. But before looking up anything in German, I asked for for anGreek-to-English one, typing, in Greek, Kalés Giortés, "HappyHolidays." The reply? "Joyful Vacation!"

So I knew I had better rely on a human being, and German-speakingGisela, who was sending me a creche sheet from Europe, was happy tooblige. "In Germany you say: Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes Neues
Jahr, or fröhliche Weihnacht und alles Gute zum neuen Jahr
."

Then, while resolving Deb Deborchi's download woes, I was pleasantlysurprised to get "Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, MerryChristmas and Happy New Year in Welsh… Da boch chi (goodbye)—Deb."

There are still some many more beautiful ways to wish MerryChristmas—Czech (Milan!); Italian (Vittorio, Elisabetta!)—just tomention two. And Spanish. I know the basics, (Feliz Navidad y BuenoAño Nuevo, minus one or two accent marks), but I'll have to contactartist—and Creche Guild Member—Luis Carbajal in Mexico City for thedefinitive version.

But Christmas is almost here, and I want to get our Greek ChristmasCard in your hands... But wait, here's a note from Dorothea Durutya with Greetings in Romanian, Hungarian, and Latvian…

In any language, Happy Holidays to You!

—Alexis


Nativities add the perfect Christmas touch to your holdiaty decor.




Alexis Collection



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