Peace is the universal season's greeting for 1987.
The dove, an endangered species in a more militaristic time not long ago, is nesting on many cards this year, replacing last year's pet, the teddy bear.
The Gorbachev-Reagan Washington summit was only a hope in many hearts last year when card creators were at work. Now, with the meetings having been held, the U.S. mails will be filled with peaceful wishes--about 2.2 billion, by the Greeting Card Assn.'s estimate. Think of the power of all those good thoughts!
(Except where specifically noted, all cards are generally available in shops, though you may have to try several to find just the card you want.)
The message of peace is poignantly expressed in the hope on the face of a tender angel from the Mazarin Tapestry, c. 1500, on a delicate card from the National Gallery of Art.
UNICEF, benefiting the world's children, offers greetings in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese--and the Latin Pax.
And from Greeting Teas comes a stimulating wish for "Peace and Prosperi-tea," with an Earl Grey tea bag inside the card.
Doves and More Doves
From UNICEF's collection: a dove silhouetted in silver foil by Anna Belli of Brazil, and a pair of cooing doves by Alban Welti of Switzerland.
Amnesty International offers a card with a dove on a cranberry red background, available by mail from Mike and Lisa Myers, 5432 Bradford Ct., No. 232, Alexandria, Va. 22311. A package of 20 cards is $9.
Three-dimensional, die-cut interlocking doves on a clear acetate background, designed by architect Ted Naos, can swing from the Christmas tree as an ornament.
Doves share an elaborate die-cut quadrafold card from Hallmark with a tree, a heart, a star and a snowflake.
Only Hallmark knows whether the dove on an intricate card by Linda Pozorski is flying through glittering rays of light from a tiny tapestry or an elaborate embroidery.
More exotic birds fly on the note cards from the rare collections of the Library of Congress: Fasciated Trogon, Blue-throated Nyctiornis, Allied Eurylaime and Dalhousie's Eurylaime, from "The Birds of Asia" by John Gould (1850-83).
If peace has a rival this leap year, it's love.
Love and peace are linked around a dove with a red heart. The message reads: "I Love You" on the outside and goes further in the inside with "at Christmas and Always." And a glittering red heart says "Sweetheart, you put me in the mood for mistletoe!" All from Hallmark.
Another Common Symbol
After doves, Christmas trees are this year's most common card symbol.
A 25-foot spruce reaches for the vaulted ceiling in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress on the cover of one card. Its 1846 message is from Charles Dickens: "Many merry Christmases, friendships, great accumulation of cheerful recollections . . . for all of us."
The tree also grows tall this year on seven cards by Naos--the best one, a three-dimensional tree suitable for hanging from your tree.
From Hallmark's forest comes a tree so glittering it's as though it were made of green garland, to stand on your mantel.
Just for Pets
The hottest new too-cute-for-words trend is what Patti Brickman of the Greeting Card Assn. calls the pet-to-pet greeting--"your pooch sending greetings to your neighbor's cat."
"Merry Christmas From Our Dog to Yours" and "A Christmas Wish From the Cat" (which regrettably carries the message "Merry kitty-mas to you") are both by Hallmark. For those who have neither kitty nor puppy, there are plenty of teddy bear cards out there--though not, thankfully, as many as last year.
Not all messages this year are full of peace or love. Consider Hallmark's "The Yuppie Days of Christmas": "On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me--twelve lunches doing--eleven banks foreclosing--ten 'k's' a-jogging--nine pairs a-wing tips--eight Volvos revving--seven lawyers suing--six condos leasing--five Krugerrands!--four calling cards--three trench coats--two savings bonds--and a tax-deferred annuity!"
Maine Line Co. of Rockport, Maine, also offers seasonal greetings for our times: "I Dashered and Dancered and Prancered around getting ready for Christmas. And now that I'm Donnered, I'm gonna get Blitzened."
In this mercenary time, cards designed to hold checks or (better) cash might just sell faster than stock certificates. Hallmark speeds your money on its way via a train engineered by Santa, with the legend "$omething $pecial for You!"
B'nai B'rith Museum lights the way with Hanukkah cards, including one with puzzles for children and bright adults, and "Chanukah Seeds: Festivus luminous octalasting" from the Festival of Lights Seed Co., full of bits and pieces of glitter, including a six-pointed star and a gold coin.
Capturing the Spirit