Cindy Kirk
Cindy Kirk


Jaunty Post

christmas card Santa

According to 

The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was a civil servant (Government worker) who was very interested in the new ‘Public Post Office’ and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.

Sir Henry had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each. (That is only 5p or 8 cents today(!), but in those days it was worth much much more.) The card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the centre panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner! Some people didn’t like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine.

Christmas Cards appeared in the United States in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn’t afford them. It 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from German but who had also worked on early cards in the UK, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. Mr Prang’s first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today!

In the 1910s and 1920s, home made cards became popular. They were often unusual shapes and had things such as foil and ribbon on them. These were usually too delicate to send through the post and were given by hand.

Let’s fast forward to Christmas 2013.   I have boxes of cards.  I have Christmas stamps.  I have the Christmas list.  But I’m on the fence about sending them out this year.  

Before I say more you need to know I’ve sent out Christmas cards for years.  In the years BC (before computers) I used to hand-write individual letters to out-of-town relatives.  For the past who-remembers-how-many-years, I’ve been including a Christmas letter. (No, not a brag letter, but a brief one page newsy one)

This year, I’m on the fence.  Should I expend the effort and send out cards (and letter) or just let it go?  The number I send has dwindled from a high of eighty to about forty.  What tempts me to do it again is those elderly relatives who tell me how much they enjoy my card and letter.

Has sending Christmas cards gone the way of the dinosaurs in your home?  Or, are you still sending them out?

Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to receive a book…take your pick of the ones I’ve written.  If you’re outside of the US and your name is drawn, you’ll get an e-version.  :)   The winner’s name will be posted on Sunday!


30 thoughts on “Christmas Cards–to send or not to send. That is the question…

  1. Katherine_Garbera Katherine_Garbera says:

    I’m on the fence as well, Cindy. I think with all the social media they aren’t as relevant as they once were. But I got a card in the mail yesterday and was so excited to receive it. Since I’ve moved to the UK I don’t get as many as I used to.

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Kathy, I think social media is why I’m not as enthusiastic about sending the cards…because I already interact. But it’s those pesky out of towners that aren’t on facebook that I hate to miss.

  2. Kristan Higgins says:

    I send the photo montage type of card, Cindy. And I love getting Christmas cards! Thanks for this very interesting blog!

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      Yep. This is what I do too, and I love getting the ones with the photos of the whole family.

    2. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Hmmm, a photo montage type of card….I may have to look into that….

  3. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I love getting cards and sending them (I’m doing mine today). I just think it’s a nice way to let people know you’re thinking about them. I say, send them!

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Thanks for the go-ahead, Shana. And, I do like getting them, too!

  4. Martha Eddy says:

    I send Thanksgiving cards to a select group of family members and my clients. I don’t send Christmas cards anymore.

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Martha, Thanksgiving cards…what a great idea!

  5. Sue Gorman says:

    I love writing and receiving Christmas cards. I have not sent them out in the past two years due to a death in the family and overall lack of holiday spirit. A cousin wrote to me and told me how much her 95 y/o Mom enjoyed my cards and the information that I shared about my daughter and family on the back of the cards. So, I decided to send out cards. I used a favorite family photo and am mailing about 50 cards today.
    Send the cards and spread the holiday spirit! :)

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Okay, Sue. You’re getting me in the mood!

  6. girlygirlhoosier52 says:

    I continue to send them, but only to people I don’t see very often. But if I was doing a letter in addition… it would be a photocopy [maybe on holiday paper too] I love getting the ones and watching the kids grow and change. Although we got one last year from an old friend that included all the grandkids, etc. I could only positively identify about 5 people.

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      I even have the holiday paper girlygirl. I guess I’m only missing the holiday spirit. lol

  7. Maria Facchini Proctor says:

    I love to send them, & take the extra time to write special notes! I like the religious ones the best, angels or Jesus in the manger. I so enjoy getting them, too!

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Maria, It’s amazing to me how lovely some of the cards are…and I do like seeing them amongst all the ads and such one gets in the mail.

  8. I still love to get them, Cindy, and I send a few, but it’s a dwindling number. Truth is, I love picking out the card each year, and I love seeing all the beautiful ones we get from others. The photo cards are the ones I keep–so great to see the families growing up!

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      I love the photo ones, too, Kathleen. It makes me feel re-connected to people I never see.

  9. Elaine says:

    I agree it is a tough one. With email and Facebook, most people have been in the loop of what has gone on during the last year so it is hard to write a letter that will be newsy and not just boring same old, same old. This year I will be including a change of address so it is more important to get the cards out. But I do need to get at that letter and that is the hard part.

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:


      I believe it’s the letter that is holding me back, too.

  10. jcp says:

    I only send to people who send me one and I always write a note in each one of those so it’s usually 2-3 cards. I would send them to your elderly relatives who don’t have access to social media.

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:


      Good idea…I may need to cut down to the people who aren’t into social media.

  11. Karen Johnston says:

    I send to a select few. I used to send to a bunch of family and friends but no one else seems to do that anymore….I enjoy getting cards tho!

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      I agree, Karen. I’m not getting as many as I used to….

  12. Marcy Shuler says:

    I like getting them, but I stopped sending them when the time it took up and the cost got too much for me. I still feel guilt though.

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      I think I’ll feel guilty if I don’t send these out…

  13. catslady says:

    I was so thrilled as a child when the cards started arriving and it’s a shame that they do seem to be disappearing. I am down to 12-15 cards. So far I’ve only received one!!

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      I’ve only received two!

  14. Cheryl Hastings says:

    I’m on the fence. Last year, I was late getting them out, so I planned on sending them the week between Christmas and New Year. But my grandmother fell on Christmas Day and ultimately passed 4 days later, so the card went nowhere. Needless to say, I’m not feeling like sending any this year :(

    1. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

      Hugs, Cheryl!

  15. Glenda says:

    I’ve decided that our cards will go out to my older relatives and friends who do not use the internet and social media. There might be rare exceptions but the rest of my friends and relatives will receive e greetings.

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