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Christmas Card’s History – Part 2

December 14, 2011

Have you sent your Christmas cards yet? (I’ve done most of mine, yet I still need to buy the rest of the presents…) I bet that the post offices across the World have been flooded with envelopes and parcels these days… I must admit Christmas is the only occasion I send cards via the so called snail mail.

What kind of cards did you go for? Were you looking for something traditional? Or maybe something unique and arty? With a touch of humour or with a verse of wise words? We have so much to choose from with days! Yet a few centuries ago it was much easier.

Continuing on the Christmas card’s history…

The first Christmas cards usually had pictures of the Nativity scene and in late Victorian times, robins and snow-scenes became popular. Why robins? Because the postmen in that time wore red uniforms and were nicknamed ‘Robin Postmen’. Snow-scenes were popular because they reminded of the very bad winter that happened in 1836.

In the USA Christmas Cards appeared only in the late 1840s and were very expensive; most people couldn’t afford them! In 1875, Louis Prang, a German printer, who had also worked on the early cards in the UK, started mass production. 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!

1910, Kids looking at Christmas cards (Source: New York Times Archive)

A nice fact for all crafts lovers, yet not that good for postmen – in the 1910s and 1920s homemade cards became popular. They were often of unusual shapes and had things such as foil and ribbon on them. This might be very pretty, yet they were usually too delicate to send through the post and had to be given by hand.

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To sum it up – sending Christmas cards is a very nice tradition and if you’ve sent at least some to your relatives and friends, I’m sure you will get lots of pretty ones too, with heaps of warm wishes!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2011 3:55 pm

    I haven’t sent any cards yet, I am very bad at the whole Christmas thing always leaving things to the last minute. Every year i promise myself I will be more organised, but it hasn’t happened yet, perhaps I am to old to change!! Some interesting information about Christmas cards thanks for sharing, and I hope you have a lovely Christmas.

  2. Claire permalink
    December 15, 2011 4:55 pm

    Interesting history. I hate sending the cards but always do! It’s the one thing about Christmas that I’d happily drop…

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