Just where did the habit of sending Christmas cards come from?
In 1843 and man by the name of Sir Henry Cole wanted to send something different to his work colleagues when the usual thing to do was to send a Christmas letter. Writing a Christmas letter to each individual person took quite some time, and for an upstanding member of the public who had many Christmas greetings to send, handwriting all of them was simply impractical. Sir Henry Cole wanted to save time and decided to commission an artist to create an image which he could put onto a card with a message on the inside.
The artist that Sir Henry commissioned was called John Calcott Horsley. John Calcott Horsley was in his own right an established artist who was born in London in 1817.
The first ever Christmas card which Horsley designed showed a typical Victorian English family on holiday whilst giving to charity. Giving to charity was very important in the Victorian days so this had to be shown. There was however some controversy over this card, because Horsley painted a small child drinking wine!
1000 copies of Sir Henry Cole’s card printed and sold for one shilling each.
The inside of the card read, “a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you”… Many festive cards today still have this message printed on the inside of the card. We still say the same even after a hundred and 50 years!
So Henry Cole’s first ever Christmas card created a legacy now copied by millions, if not billions, of people around the world who continue to send Christmas cards to family and friends over the festive period.
The British Royal family have always been known for their official Christmas cards. Queen Victoria in 1842 was the first Royal to send festive cards. Royal cards often depicted the Royal family in the form of a portrait. Some had been painted, and in most recent times it is a photo of the Royal family.
The first ever official Christmas card sent the United States of America was in 1953 by President Eisenhower who sent the first official White House seasonal card. Once again, the normal thing to do was to send an image of the White House; the image would have normally been a painting commissioned by prominent American artist at the time.
Today, many businesses and organizations supply festive cards which make them millions every year. As keeping in touch and connecting with family and friends remains an important part of society, the rise of the Christmas card is not surprising and is certainly not stopping any time soon.
And it’s not just individuals who send Seasons Greetings. Many companies and corporations send festive cards to their suppliers and their customers. In fact, it is considered rude if you did not receive a card from a company from which you purchase their products. Companies and corporations understand this and therefore continue to send Season Greetings even when most customers would prefer if they didn’t.
Company Christmas lists can be anything up to 10,000,000 recipients. These cards continue to generate goodwill amongst company’s customers. Christmas cards these companies tend to send to their customers are not necessarily religious or depict religious imagery. They need to be relatively secular in their design as to not alienate any minority. For this reason, festive, snowy scenes are quite popular. For example a snowman, or a reindeer, or a robin redbreast.
And now many organizations tend to support charities over the festive period. Charity Christmas cards earn many charities throughout the world a substantial amount of money which is much needed. The first ever charity Xmas card was developed by UNICEF sent in 1949, just after the Second World War. The UNICEF charity Christmas card was designed by a child from Czechoslovakia. The world was delighted that the Second World War had finished and the charity Christmas card that is designed was meant to depict joy and happiness.
But what if you don’t like sending pre-designed Christmas cards? That’s okay as making Xmas cards at home with your family has also become a new emerging hobby. Many families love to spend time with each other making cards they will send to their friends and family dotted all over the world. It’s a very sociable and fun thing to do with the rest of the family. A lot of families tend to add photos of them to the handmade cards and let their family and friends know what they have been up to throughout the rest of the year.
Sending Season Greetings continues to be a habitual part of the festive period. There is nothing better than to arrive home one day and find hand written cards on your doorstep. Long may Christmas cards continue!
If you would like to send charity Christmas cards this year, please consider using Charity Greetings. They are a social company who helped good causes one card at a time. Click here to see their Christmas card selection.
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