Fundy Christmas Day 2: Finding Christmas Cards

In 1875 Louis Prang became the first printer to offer Christmas cards in America thereby beginning a tradition that would test the mettle of fundamentalists everywhere: The Yearly Quest For A Fundy-Approved Christmas Card.

This Quest For the Card is no job for the faint of heart since the perfect card must meet a stringent list of fundamentalist qualifications. Not only must it contain text from the Authorized King James Version but that text must also be matched to the theme of the enclosed gospel tract. It would be unthinkable to spend the postage to send a card and not enclose a copy of Humbug.

What’s more, the picture on the front of the card must be reflective of fundamentalist values. Stars are good. Bibles on a bed of pine branches are good. Nativities, however, are only good if nobody in the scene is sporting a Catholic halo and the wise men are absent. (If no wise-men-free cards are available a disclaimer note may be place on the reverse side.)

If the hours spent scouring every store in town for a suitable card proves fruitless, don’t despair. You can order a pre-approved selection from Sword of the Lord for the low, low price of $6 per dozen.

162 thoughts on “Fundy Christmas Day 2: Finding Christmas Cards”

      1. This should play automatically when you open sfl. Also, is there some code you can use to override the computer’s mute function? Also, it should start from the beginning every time you click on a link. Also, there should be an animated gif of some guy running from santa and towards the kjv.

      2. I actually thought I didn’t know that song and would be safe clicking the link to hear it. Turns out it’s simply another of my fundy memories I’d managed to block out of my head – until now. Now I have it stuck in my head. Curse you, Darrell! And Reader Mo, that’s just mean!

      3. I may have to turn in my SFL badge and decoder ring for this, but my non-fundy church did Hamilton’s “Christmas at Home” last year, and I actually kinda-sorta somewhat liked it. And we’re not even Southern!

        1. Many of us are sick of Hamilton because his cantatas are the only ones our churches ever did. They’d never do something by Tom Fettke, the compromiser, for example! Our ability to objectively evaluate a cantata is compromised!

          But we all have individual soul liberty so go ahead and enjoy Ron Hamilton. Just don’t enjoy him too much!

        2. @Ken – Well, we love ya anyway. Hate the sin, love the sinner. I mean, it was completely out of your control, but you’re accepted anyway.

          And, I’m talking about being a non-Southerner. 😉

        3. It’s funny you mention that, because my last year in fundy church, I directed that script for the cantata and actually managed to make it half-decent.

        4. @Natalie: I lived in Texas for two years, does that count? Transplant’s motto: “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as quick as I could!”
          This oughta tell y’all something (not sure what): a string quartet from my church is playing at the White House on Christmas Eve. 😎

      4. That sounded almost like it was from my former fundy church. With one exception, of course. The organist didn’t make a bunch of glaring mistakes which he later called “grace notes.” And BTW – grace notes were okay when playing the organ, but if you did it with your voice while singing – that’s called “sliding” and everyone knows that’s just worldly and unacceptable. But that’s another story for another day.

  1. My favorite Christmas card was from the National Wildlife Association. It was outside a church and showed all kinds of wild animals peering in the window at a Nativity Scene…:

  2. We weren’t Christmas card types, I never thought of this stuff. I had always heard complaints about the halos being Catholic. The stars fascination approval is kind of a unique/bizarre thing. Fundies forbid anyone from thinking wise men may have been there, insist the 3 is probably wrong, but then associate stars with Christmas (I suppose from the shepherds story, but they don’t have any angels in most starry night scenes). I wonder why starry night scenes are approved? Maybe noone famous enough has thought to ban them?

    1. Well according to Scripture they could see the same star from Bethlehem and it did show up around the time Jesus was born. The wise men just took a while getting there. So I guess it’s ok.

    2. This reminds me. A couple of years ago, my Mom’s church was having some sort of dinner and everyone was supposed to dress up in something from the nativity. So, she asked me what she should do. I said that she should dress up as the star. So, she got some cardboard, cut out a star, and wrapped it in tin foil and wore that with black clothes underneath. So, my aunt called and asked what she was going as, mom told her, and so my aunt made a manger out of cardboard and stuff, complete with hay and a baby (fake, of course) and went as the manger.

      We’re not well.

  3. My favorite was a picture of a guy with a smoking shotgun and a blood stained Santa sprawled on a snow covered roof with the caption, “Hey Maw, come on out here! I just shot me a secular humanist!”

  4. One of my personal favorites showed a smiling Santa with the caption, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…”
    Inside it said, “Santa Claus is a Stalker!”

  5. Dunno if this one would be Fundy approved or not, but my favorite Christmas card that I saw this year (I work at a store that sells greeting cards) was a picture of the three wise men – the caption reads, “Are we there yet?”

  6. Well, our cards this year has an angel bearing gifts with a message saying something about the angel’s song bringing you peace and joy. No verse at all.

    Clearly not fundie-approved, but they’re vintage looking, so that makes them okay.

      1. When I worked at the BJU print shop, I chose a 4-color piece of clip art for the back of “Voice of the Alumni”. I got in trouble later for comments saying that the angels looked too feminine and like they were wearing nail polish.

        1. Too true. I’m sure that if I’d had picked the 4-color picture of Bethlehem, there would have been complaints made too.

  7. Good catch on the no halos.

    Another big one for some fundies I know are the angels. Angels cannot look like children or women, and they should not have wings. (The Bible mentions only seraphim having wings and they have six.) A die-hard fundy is going to look for a card with wingless angels who look like handsome young white men with blonde hair. Having the hair subscribe to a BJU haircut might be expecting too much, but the hair cannot be long and flowing.

    1. One of my pet peeves is depictions of angels as cute, sugary girls or girly men, or children. In the Bible, any time an angel shows up, the angel invariably scares the bejabbers out of everybody. Even in the Christmas story, the angels have to begin their messages with “Fear not …”

      I don’t know exactly how the Biblical angels looked, but it’s pretty clear they were kicking rears and taking names.

        1. Ah yes, the stamp. Not only must the card be fundy-approved, so must the stamp. 🙄 Oy vey. Life is so much easier now that I’m no longer fundy.

        2. Ah yes! The annual Christmas challenge – finding a safe stamp that will have neither Santa Claus nor a catholic-looking (i.e. halo) Mary and baby Jesus.

          We usually had to settle for the ones that have Santa Claus as one of 4 designs and we just were very careful to put Santa on the cards of the few people on the list who might not notice. 🙂

      1. I love lions and lambs! I decorated one of my children’s nurseries with a lion/lamb theme, and I have several lion/lamb ornaments for my tree. Not enough to do an entire tree, but I keep looking for more!

  8. And while we’re straining out the Christmas gnats let’s make sure we don’t have the angels “singing”. And, above all, reject anything with Xmas. That stuff about the “X” being the Greek chi for Christ isn’t true because the real Biblical language is English, not Greek.

    1. That’s absolutely true! And the churches that were around prior to 1611 or 1769 just didn’t have the REAL Bible.

      Guess I should cancel my attendance to the Agape Feast this year at my local Moravian church. Those Moravians were started in the 1400’s. What do they know?

  9. The good thing is, the discerning fundy can judge the spiritual condition of the sender by the Christmas card:

    SAVED AND SANCTIFIED: Nativity scene w/ cross or Bible on card, KJV verse, tract inside, family newsletter which hilights the family’s yearly service to the church (i.e. “this year, each of our seven kids won the Christian character award at the Basement Christian school. This was a big accomplishment due to the increasing school enrollment of 25 in K-12 this year. Also, our family made sure we showed up at every service this past year, and we all rededicated our lives to Christ several times during the fifteen revivals our church held.”)

    BACKSLIDDEN: Christmas card w/ Bible verse NOT from the KJV. Halo around Mary’s head. Joseph has long hair. Christmas letter describes worldly activities like the children participating in Little League or Boy Scouts.

    UNSAVED: Christmas card w/ Santa or a secular theme. Perhaps it says “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”. No Scripture quoted.

    1. Every year, our fundy neighbors put a tract in our Christmas card. I know they mindlessly just put one in every card, but it’s so strange. They have even sometimes visited our church on a Sunday night to hear my husband preach, but each Christmas we still get a “how-to-get-saved” tract in our card.

      1. It blows the mind of a fundie every time I get handed a tract and I give it back and say, “Here, give it to someone who needs it.” They look started and go into their spiel. I wait until they get to the questions and I give them the date, place, and time that I was saved. That usually ends the conversation, but they still look like I’ve cheated them out of something… ha ha.

        1. startled, George

          BTW, I’m not rude when I do this. George may have given that impression. I do say it with a low voice and a smile.

        2. You’re not a member of their church: ergo, you must not be saved.

          Fundies separate from everyone so they cannot rejoice that they met another believer. They must stand-off from you suspiciously until you can prove you are a “true” Christian based on the Bible you carry, the music you listen to, the preachers you endorse, and of course the clothes you wear. If you don’t match their definition of Christian, they’re actually disappointed to have met you, because you’re not another trophy to hang on their soul-winning belt.

        3. That is SO true, PW! I live a bit away from the church I grew up and there, all I had to say was what church I attended and that said it all. Now, its more complicated.

          I’ve been tempted to just get them all out of sorts and say I’m a Liberal Catholic Jew. They’d be hunting in their trunk for all of the appropriate chick tracts to give me.

    2. And, let’s not forget the pecking order among the saved/sanctified. The more fundie-approved paraphenalia that is enclosed in the card, showed your current position in the ranks at the church.

      A good rule of thumb is to wait until the others have sent their cards out and then choose yours. This ensures your position in the hierarchy.

      1. You’re right! I think this is the thinking behind some people’s Christmas cards. It’s so sad because we’re all equal at the foot of the cross. We are joint-heirs with Christ. Our leaders are those who serve. We are all parts of the body – essential and needed; none can say, “I have no need of YOU.” So why are some Christians still trying to prove that they’re better than other Christians? The subtle spiritual pride involved truly stinks in the nostrils of God.

  10. One year my mom sent out cards that had a drawing of people standing around in snow dressed up like snails. The caption read, “And folks dressed up like escargot.” I’m guessing it didn’t go over so well with some of our family and friends…

        1. My father-in-law once preached a message on how jokes and laughing are sinful because Jesus never laughed. I sinned a lot during that sermon.

        2. My first pastor had an intriguing argument for the idea that Jesus had a sense of humor: Children were drawn to him. Are children ever drawn to a sourpuss?

        3. @ Tony Mel- Just read that web site on humor. WOW! Does that person ever need to lighten up! Is that for real? Please tell me that it is a parody site.

          Unfortunately, it isn’t. 🙄

          Children loved being around Jesus, 😛 in fact they flocked to Him in droves. Have you ever known of a child to be drawn to a sour poos? Never!

          We know from reading the scriptures that Jesus rejoiced. In fact, there is every indication that He loved a good party, even helping to transform an ordinary wedding reception into something extraordinary by turning water into wine.

          If Jesus was 100% percent human and 100% percent divine, it’s only logical that He enjoyed His time on earth, experiencing all of the emotions that you and I do, including laughter. In fact, I’m quite sure His spirit during His ministry could be light and buoyant, depending on the occasion.

          ::stepping down from soapbox::

          carry on 😆

        4. I think there’s humour to be found in the Bible. After all the Jews are God’s people, right.. And they’re not exactly renowned for their lack of a sence of humour.

        5. *looks at Tony Mel’s link, gags*

          And people wonder why I’m so interested in the Jewish perspectives. According to a local rabbi, many Jews believe that they will not only be held accountable for the bad things they did, but also for the good things they didn’t do… and I don’t mean necessarily good deeds. If this guy doesn’t want to laugh, he just might have something to answer for later — rejecting the good things God sent his way.

        6. For a guy who didn’t laugh, he sure had a sly sense of humor.
          “Whose IMAGE is this? And whose inscription?” (emphasis added)

    1. What a great idea. Reminds me of one of my wife’s cards where she made “wreaths” out of oregano, thyme, &c on the front, with little word balloons of “Hi!” from the wreath.
      Inside it just said, “Seasoning’s Greetings”

      That’ll really tell you who’s taking it all too seriously.

  11. My favorite Christmas Card was of a blonde Jesus sitting at a white piano, wait….
    My wife now tells me that it wasn’t a Christmas Card and the blonde wasn’t Jesus.
    Sorry.

  12. Now that you found Christ approved Christmas cards, what type of postage stamps should you use?
    Every year the USPS (United Satan Postal Service) issues “religious” and “secular” holiday stamps. They also issue stamps for the Muslim Holiday Eid, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, which is like Hanukkah for black people.
    The “religious” stamps are always of a painting of the Madonna (that is Jesus’ mom, not the singer) with baby Jesus. The painting is by some unsaved Catholic or Lutheran European artist and is probably hanging in some Catholic Church in Europe. So that would be off limits. You would not your mail man to think you worship Mary.
    Why can’t the USPS just hire Thomas Kinkade to make a painting the baby Jesus near a lighthouse?
    Then there are the “secular” stamps. This year has various evergreen trees. They are also “forever” stamps, so you can use them until The Rapture occurs in May 2011!
    But the “secular” stamps might give the impression that you are taking “Christ out of Christmas”
    So what’s a good fundie do to? You can order custom made stamps with a picture the newer member of your family or of the last great Dr Bob Sr. But that makes time and extra money.
    Just stick with the patriot stamps. Because it doesn’t have to be the Fourth of July for you to show your greatest country god ever created. Plus your fundie church doesn’t remove the America and Christian flags from the pulpit area during the annual Christmas Cantata and Live Nativity. Who knows, maybe there was an American flag at the original manger. 😉

        1. One of my IFBx friends is a huge Kinkade fan; he told me one time it’s because Kinkade is Christian. Whether or not how true that is, I’m not a fan… his paintings are waaayy too floral for my tastes.

        2. Well, he does do some church scenes and if you like his paintings, then that makes him a Christian.

          Guess that means Bob Ross was a Parrothead.

        3. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I want to live in a Kinkade painting. Many of them look like an idealized English countryside that never existed, with adorable cottage, flourishing flower beds, vines over an arched gateway, old stone walls, and winding paths leading through quiet woods toward a distant town, all glowing with warm lights.

        4. FWIW: When I was in England a few years ago, I saw a little cottage Kinkade had supposedly based one of his paintings on. It was a cute place with some trees and a only few flower bushes. Imo, it’s too bad he had to floral-it-up, because it was quite nice as it was.

        5. Do they still love him, with all the allegations of fraud and the DUI he’s had? Or is that just evidence of persecution against him as a Christian?

        6. Well, we all know that crimes are persecution, right? I mean, a true Christian CAN’T commit crimes.

          Okay, I can’t even type that without rolling my eyes.

        1. Pastor’s Wife – there are indeed many such idyllic scenes still existing in the English countryside. However the reality of living in a cottage is not always that idyllic, as I can testify from experience. Unless you like typing with blue fingers that is.. Brrrrr (from an English 19C cottage)

        2. 2Jo A, I can imagine. Reality always rudely intrudes into my fantasies! And that’s what Kinkade’s paintings are — a fantasy. But one that definitely appeals to me. (I can relate. My present house has beautiful lead glass windows – and they’re seeping in cold air right now as I speak!)

        3. What a timely topic considering my husband just called to ask if the fuel oil has been delivered yet to our charming English, well, bungalow, not cottage. It hasn’t. There are plenty of Kinkadesque cottages around here, but we are all at the mercy of the fuel delivery truck.

  13. I shouldn’t include this, but it’s always made me smile. The card has a picture of Rudolph & Santa, along with the other reindeer in the background, & they have just plowed into an outhouse & destroyed it with the sleigh full of gifts. The caption has Santa speaking, & reads, “Blast it Rudolph, I said the SCHMIDT house!”

  14. I design and sell Christmas cards that have goofy cartoons, and I used to feel guilty about this. I sold some to a card company and they were always captioned inside with a generic “holiday” greeting. Always made me feel guilty, but not so much anymore. I self publish most of them now.

        1. hey, thanks. at BJU I was in a meeting for graphic designers about how you’ll be put in all kinds of positions where you’ll be tempted to compromise your principles. it had me on guard all the time that my sense of humor could be a bad testimony in some way. I feel much more free now.

        2. Jenn, those are so funny! I can totally seeing BJU making you feel guilty and guarded about your sense of humor. I’m sure we had the same sort of meeting in the education dept . . . although, we weren’t heading anywhere but church basement high schools so maybe not . . .

        3. At the top of the interview is this disclaimer: “At his request, the subject of this profile wishes it to be known that the content and implications presented here are not an accurate picture of his current views.” I wonder in what ways his views have changed.

      1. Jenn–still couldn’t get the link to work. I’m eager to see them because 1)I owned a Keeshond; 2) my wife just told me last night that a BJU grad works in her companies graphics department. Who knew? 😉

  15. Love the Chick tract. Bonus points for the phrase, “How about a cheer for wonderful employer, Mr Scrooge!” Because all Fundies cheer randomly, since we can’t toast anyone.

    I actually enjoyed Chick Tracts as a kid. Now I realize they just indulged my sense of the macabre until I was old enough for Tim Burton movies.

    1. I noticed that in the “how to grow now that you’re saved” section it says Read Your Bible(KJV). I don’t remember the KJV being there before, although I did have the tract that was about the origins of the inspired KJV.

  16. This is OT, but one of the things I love about not being a fundy is being able to go to Christian things that are not fundy-approved and not feel guilty.

    We’re planning to go to the Billy Graham Library Christmas thing sometime before Christmas. I LOVE it there. It’s been one of my favorite places to go in my journey out of fundyland.

    Again, I love being a heathen.

    1. I think I mentioned this before, but I’d always wanted to go to a Messiah Singalong and there was one in my town when I was home from BJU, but my mom wouldn’t let me go because it was in a Methodist church. I couldn’t sing praises to Christ with all those heathen.

      Last year, over 20 years later, I finally made it to one. And it wasn’t at an IFB church either. And I didn’t care. It was glorious!

      1. Oh, Messiah Sing Along! Awesome! I haven’t done one of those in over 20 years. But I did go with folks from the village on Saturday to the Cathedral here in Ripon for a performance of the Messiah. My how I have fallen! Visitng an Anglican cathedral and sipping (not necessarily liking) mulled wine afterward. And not a shred of guilt.

      2. I’ll one up you PW! Last night I went to Messiah Rocks in my town and not only did my theater group sing an entire song by ourselves ON STAGE but I also did more than a few dance moves while singing. I smiled from ear to ear as I participated and thought about all my former fundy friends having strokes upon seeing me! :mrgreen:

  17. Anyone on here ever freeze their Tootsie off by being in a live nativity scene. One Independent Baptist church I was in, in PA used to do this every year. “Volunteers” would be out in the cold and the pastor would accept “donations” from the public to view the Nativity. (It wasn’t really a donation tho’ because if you no pay, you were not get allowed to see the Nativity scene.)

    Anyone else ever do this? (Think the pastor copied this from the Mennonites/Amish, although he would never admit such a thing.)

    1. Yes! It was completely free to the public, though. But yes. As a kid it was pretty fun. Looking back as an adult, why would you do that to yourself during the busy holiday season? Setting it up and participating and cleaning up just took so much time, all unpaid, of course.

    2. Some churches have “drive-through living nativity scenes.” I’ve never figured out how all the cars and trucks driving through really fit into the story about the stable and the manger.

  18. I love how fundies go to such lengths to make sure their Christmas cards, nativities, etc. are “authentic” and true to the Bible, but are completely ok with the holy family and shepherds being WASPy. They’ll make sure the scene is halo-free, that the wise men aren’t there, that Jesus is all swaddled up, not naked (my parents wrapped the baby Jesus figure in our nativity in gauze), etc., but don’t bat an eye about the Middle Easterners looking like Norwegians. 🙄

  19. Showing Jesus in the physical style
    of your own culture isn’t unique to WASPs. I have a book which shows African, Chinese and Indian images of Jesus by artists from those cultures. I guess it can reflect something about Jesus being for everyone in every culture. Not good when its exported cross-culture though or held up as the definitive Christ.

  20. My wife’s favorite card was a line of men in sequined jump suits and mutton chops outside Santa’s workshop. Santa is yelling at an elf “The add was supposed to say ELVES WANTED.”

  21. Oh my goodness, was it really that bad or are you just hyping it for effect? Oops, I apologize, I forgot that “my goodness” is shorthand for a mild form of cussing. 🙄

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