Christmas Card History

by Henry L. on October 17, 2007

As we try to do every night, my family sat down for dinner at around 6:30 yesterday evening. After making sure everyone had their drinks, straws, butter, salt, napkins, and steak sauce, we finally began eating. As we also try to do every night, we all talked about how our days went. In the course of conversation, someone mentioned Christmas cards and my daughter very innocently asked, “Who ever thought of sending Christmas cards anyway?”

Being as inquisitive as my daughter can be (and wanting to give the right answer), I thought this would be a great learning opportunity for both of us. So after dinner, conveniently leaving my husband to do the dishes, we hopped on our PC to find out the origin of Christmas Cards. Here’s some of what we found out:

- Artist John Calcott Horsley, a London native, designed the first Christmas card in 1843 for businessman Henry Cole. It depicted a picture of a family enjoying Christmas.

- Seeing Mickey Mouse on your Greeting cards was quite common in the 1930s when animated short films rose in popularity. (My daughter loves Mickey and found this one to be the most amusing.)

- Louis Prang, having perfected lithography, introduced the first line of Christmas cards to America.

- Prior to 1840, Christmas cards were hand delivered. That all changed with the introduction of the postage stamp, bringing greeting cards to the masses.

- Holiday greeting cards account for over 60 percent of all greeting card sales.

- Corporate Holiday cards really took off in the past few decades as a convenient way to remember those that have contributed to a company’s success.

By the time we got to the last few facts, my daughter had already moved on to the next activity but we certainly learned a lot that night.

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