Christmas Cards

Christmas Card traditions and origins

Uncover hidden superstitions meanings

The Christmas card was developed when the United Kingdom government invested in the postal system.

Where did Christmas Cards come from?

There was a focus on middle class families being the main senders initially. People have sent Christmas cards across the world since 1880. Why this date you ask? Because there was a national competition to find the best Christmas card design. The card traditionally convey messages between people about Christmas and usually exchanged in the holiday season. This tradition is common in Western culture and also in Asia. The custom of sending cards to each another was started in England in 1843 by a gentleman called Sir Henry Cole. This man worked for the government as a civil servant. He helped set up and launch the British post office, so there was a commercial aspect to the idea of the Christmas card. Christmas cards have long been a traditional custom at Christmas time. We can’t imagine having Christmas without Christmas cards!

If we look back then the traditional meaning is to wish someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year. Since these traditions there has been much variation of these key messages. Today, many messages contain prayer or a message that includes a sincere greeting - such as “this is a time to be jolly” or alternatively “season greetings.” Maybe you have come here to find some possible messages to include in your Christmas cards, that are traditional?

Going back to the history of Christmas cards. During the 1800’s there were a small number of companies that developed Christmas cards. In the year 1873 Christmas cards were first developed by a company known as “Prang and Mayer” they created Christmas cards for the mass population. This tradition has remained and we now need to look back into the history of the Christmas card. As already mentioned, the whole concept started with Sir Henry Cole who came up with the concept of giving paper cards as a gesture of kindness.

Sir Henry Cole requested John Callcott Horsley to create a striking design of the first Christmas card. The first card contained the message “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.” Obviously, this tradition has resulted into a multimillion pound business with over $2.9 billion dollar industry in 2015. Christmas cards are now a norm custom between people. Mr Prang's first cards highlighted flowers, crops, great scenes and children. Within 1915, John C. Hall and a couple of other people produced Characteristic Cards, that are still one of the primary greeting card manufacturers these days!

The cards sold for one shilling and only 1000 cards were printed and sold. The company Prang and Mayer started selling Christmas cards in the USA in 1874 and was the first company to begin printing such cards. The artwork consisted of flowers and did not focus on Christmas images nor religion.

During this time the company produced five million cards a year, this was a huge amount. For a short period people sent postcards but during the Victorian times it was decided to return the custom to sending a proper card with an envelope. During the next century the card business grew more and more. In 1913 we saw the creation of Hallmark cards, which remains one of the most important companies in the card industry.

Christmas cards given to others were only wealthy families that afforded to send Christmas cards in the post. Since printing methods improved over the years, Christmas cards started were created in large numbers. These days, Christmas cards have many different images outlined on the front, cracks, wintertime scenes, Santa Claus or romantic scenes. Non profit organizations frequently promote their very own customized Cards as a means raising cash at Christmas. In fact, in schools many companies offer the children to draw their own Christmas card in exchanged for a fee and these are then printed and given to others.

By Florance Saul
Dec 14, 2016