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Christmas Cards
Discover the Christmas custom, story, myth and legend associated with Christmas Cards. This festive tradition and Christmas custom, with its familiar symbol and meaning, has evolved over time. But what is the history, meaning and origin of Christmas Cards? This article provides facts and information about the history of Christmas Cards as a familiar symbol, tradition and Christmas custom.  

The Christmas Custom and Origin of Christmas Cards
Christmas and New Year Cards were first circulated in England in 1843. In 1843 not more than a thousand copies were printed - and that was considered a large sale of Christmas cards! The penny post had been introduced in 1840 which made it relatively inexpensive to post Christmas cards. Xmas cards first mailed in England by W.C. Dobson. The first Christmas cards were posted in the America one year later in 1846. The numbers of cards distributed annually soon increased to tens and hundreds of thousands and there are now millions of Christmas cards sent every year.

The First Christmas Card
Mr. J. C. Horsley, who was a member of the Royal Academy, designed the first Christmas card which was sent out in 1846. It was designed at the request of Sir Henry Cole. It represented a family party of three generations consisting of a grandfather and grandmother, father and mother and little children. The family were depicted as supposedly joining in the sentiment, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." The card was issued from the office of one of the periodicals of the time - Felix Summerley's Home Treasury. The first Christmas card was first lithographed and then coloured by hand.

Christmas Card Designs
Christmas Cards became very popular in the decade 1870-1880. But then, however, simple cards alone did not suffice. Monochrome and colored Xmas cards were produced. Designs included "Xmas Bell" cards, palettes, scrolls, circular and oval panels, stars, fans, crescents and other shaped novelties. There were also other designs and themes including:

  • embossed card series

  • the iridescent card series

  • rustic and frosted card series

  • the folding card series

  • the jewel card series

Christmas Card Designs
Private cards were produced for specific customers on which the sender's name and sentiments are printed in gold, silver, or colours. The rich commissioned the design of their personal Christmas cards which included:

  • hand-painted cards with landscapes, seascapes and floral decorations

  • paintings on porcelain

  • satin

  • fringed silk

  • plush

  • Broché

  • other artistically made-up novelties included "art-gem" panels

Some customers even commissioned elaborate booklets and other elegant souvenirs of the festive season. Many of the Christmas booklets were beautifully illustrated editions of popular poems and carols. "Quartette" cards, "Snap" cards, and other cards of games for the diversion of social gatherings are also extensively used at Christmastide. The custom and tradition of sending Christmas Cards was well and truly established!

Christmas Cards
Christmas is celebrated worldwide, throughout the Christian population of approximately 2275 million people, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. A Xmas custom or tradition is symbolized by a familiar symbol or icon, such as Xmas Cards,  have come to represent the spirit and meaning of this special time of the year.

Christmas Cards

  • Design of Xmas Cards
  • The First card
  • Designs and materials
  • Old Customs, Symbols and Traditions - cards
  • History, Facts and information about customs, symbols and traditions of the greetings card
  • Design and origin of the traditional greetings card
  • Xmas Card

Christmas Cards

"Merry Christmas, have a happy and prosperous New Year!"

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