According to www.whychristmas.com:
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!