The History of the Christmas Card
I like Christmas cards. I like sending and receiving them and the Christmas card has always been a part of my Christmas tradition.
Greeting cards can be traced back to 14th century Germany! I did not know that! The cards were “wood-block” printed New Year’s cards. In the 15th century the more affluent, religious Germans would give New Year’s gifts. These gifts were a greeting card. There was a printed devotional picture decorated with a scroll and the Christ-child bearing a cross wishing the receiver “a good and blessed year.” The Christmas card had German origins, however, the modern day Christmas card had it’s start in England and was created by children. They are called “Christmas pieces,” and they are 18th century. Today these cards are rare and valuable.
Sir Henry Cole was the man behind the Christmas cards we know today. He hand wrote greetings on paper decorated with Christmas themes and send them to friends and family. He was the first one to give the directive to have cards made, duplicated and sent to those he desired. The first card was sold for a shilling and apparently that was expensive at that time.
The Postal Act of 1840 had a positive impact on the sending of Christmas cards. In 1844 W.C.T. Dobson produced a Christmas card that was very well received and hence the popularity of the Christmas card was born!
In 1848 W. M. Edgley created the first Christmas card that included holly in the picture. In the 1850’s the Christmas card was a great way to stay in touch as people moved about. In 1870, the postal service became affordable to everyone and the use of Christmas cards was off the charts!
There is a considerable amount of information on the internet about the history of the Christmas card. I just tried to share the basics here. The picture is from pinterest. For information, I personally liked http://www.history.uk.com