Ah, Christmas time! Eggnog, trees, presents and cards. Cards have been around for centuries and are an essential part of the holidays. Most people send out and receive multiple festive greetings during the holiday season, but how much do they know about them? From their humble beginnings to modern-day traditions, read on to learn some interesting facts about Christmas cards that you may not have known before!
Have you ever been curious about who set the trend of exchanging Christmas cards? The concept is said to have originated in London back in 1843, coinciding with Charles Dickens's famous novel "A Christmas Carol". Before commercialized cards were created, people had shared joyful tidings through personal letters.
As early as 1822, the exchange of homemade Christmas cards had become such a popular tradition that it was putting an unexpected strain on America's postal system. The Superintendent of Mails in Washington, D.C., noted with distress how they would have to hire sixteen additional mailmen to deal with this seasonal influx; fearing what future bottlenecks could bring about if no action were taken, he took his plea straight to Congress and asked for some restriction on card-sending by post - "I don't know what we'll do if it keeps on."
In 1843, Sir Henry Cole's desire to spread a little holiday cheer sparked the creation of an innovative greeting card. He commissioned his friend John Callcott Horsley to create something special. A unique triptych emerged featuring two panels illustrating charitable acts - clothing the naked and feeding the hungry - and a scene in its centre that depicted people sharing food, drink and good humour during their Christmas celebration. Not everyone welcomed this revolutionary idea as Puritans decried it as inappropriate; however, most embraced it warmly, leading to these cards becoming extremely popular over time!
One thousand festive cards were printed onto a lithograph stone and hand-coloured by professional colourer Mason to ring in the holiday spirit. On each card was inscribed "merry Christmas and happy New Year," which held special significance as 'Merry' meant 'blessed' during that period. Of these 1,000 original cards, only twelve still exist today - so their beauty is treasured! In December 2005, one lucky bidder paid an impressive £8,469 for such a rare find at a Wiltshire auction.
From flowers to fairies, animals to children, and ever-increasingly intricate embellishments – early English cards lightheartedly pointed towards the promise of spring. Sentimental though still playful designs were particularly favoured by many; a reminder that even in those days, anticipation for warmer weather was alive and strong!
In England and Germany, the tradition of sending festive greetings via printed Christmas cards quickly caught on; however, it was only when Louis Prang introduced Americans to this trend in 1875 that they finally embraced the idea. The Boston lithographer from Germany is celebrated as "the father of American Christmas card."
Prang created highly-priced cards different from the Christmas classics we know today. Instead, they featured colourful floral arrangements of roses, daisies, gardenias and more. Unfortunately for him, his creations didn't catch on with Americans. Instead, penny postcards from Germany became all the rage until shortly after World War 1, when America's vibrant greeting card industry had sprouted up!
Every year, Americans send and receive a staggering two billion Christmas cards! However, over the past few decades, technology has meant that people increasingly turn to digital solutions when contacting each other during the festive season. As websites offering free email greeting cards become more accessible, families across America have seen their annual mailbag of seasonal goodwill steadily dwindle - from twenty-nine in 1987 down to just twenty by 2004.
Facts About Christmas Cards
1. Christmas cards were not the first greeting cards. Since 1796, with improvements in printing, merchants had been sending cards to their customers, offering "best wishes" for the new year.
2. The British Post Office delivered cards on Christmas morning in the nineteenth century.
3. The first Christmas stamp was released in Canada in 1898.
4. The average person in Britain sends 50 Christmas cards each year.
5. Only one in 100 Christmas cards sold in Britain contains any religious imagery or message, a Daily Mail survey has revealed.
What do your Christmas cards reveal about your personality?
- Modern cards: Extroverted and enthusiastic about life, although somewhat anxious and easily upset, with a tendency to be more creative and unconventional than most.
- Humorous cards: Outgoing and emotionally secure, but with a distinct lack of warmth and sympathy for others.
- Traditional cards: People who prefer reading a good book to a night out on the town, with a tendency to experience extremes of emotions and follow the rules.
- Abstract cards: Tendency to be disorganized and spontaneous, highly strung, and a low need to surround themselves with others
- Cute cards: Sympathetic, calm and open to new experiences, and with a tendency to prefer one's own company to others.
- Religious cards: Emotionally stable, sympathetic to the needs of others, and well-organized.
Frequently Asked Questions
A good Christmas card message is personal, thoughtful, and sincere. It should express your happiness and joy for the holiday season, and I wish your friends and family all the best during this particular time. You may also include a brief update on your life, letting them know what you've been up to recently. Whatever you do, could you make sure your Christmas card message sounds like it's coming from the heart? That's what will make it truly special for your loved ones. Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas! Wishing you all the joys of the season!
Merry Christmas! Wishing you a holiday season full of warmth, joy, and happiness.
Christmas is the time to enjoy friends, family, and good times. I wish you all the best this season!
May your holidays be merry and bright! Wishing you all the happiness your heart can hold.