The History of the Christmas Card
Christmas Cards come in all shapes and sizes. From small A6 postcards, to large full colour designs delivered in a hand made C4 Envelopes. Have you ever wondered why we send out Christmas Cards? Where they came from and how they have developed? It’s all thanks to Sir Henry Cole, a wealthy British businessman who wanted a card he could proudly send to friends and professional acquaintances, wishing them a “Merry Christmas!”
In 1843, Sir Henry sought the help of Illustrator John Horsley, who was tasked with designing the first ever Christmas card. It featured a family drinking wine together, on an A5 print. The design created a large amount of controversy, as it displayed children drinking alcohol. Despite this, two deliveries totalling 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each. Out of those that were produced, twelve exist today in private collections. In December 2005, one of these designs was sold for nearly £9000.
The earliest Christmas cards rarely featured what we now consider traditional Christmas scenes. The most popular designs featured images of flowers and fairies that were included to remind the recipient of the approach of spring.
In later years, the design of the Christmas card has changed drastically. The World Wars saw the introduction of patriotic themes, whilst the first cartoon illustrations used to portray humour were introduced in the 1950’s. In more recent years, the “boom” in technology has seen a major increase in Personalised Christmas Mail shots, allowing people to create Cards in anyway they want.
From left to right: Christmas card during the war, 1950’s Christmas card, Modern Day Christmas card.
Despite the technological increase, the most popular Christmas Card Designs are traditional images of Santa Claus, Christmas Trees and Snowy Landscapes. We are also a fan of the unusual mailing, be it a large chocolate bar within a letter or a personalised Christmas Bauble with a QR Code attached.
As we approach the 2012 festive period it has been predicted that over 700 million Christmas cards will be sold in the UK, an increase of 5% when compared to last year. Based on this, it is clear to see that Christmas Mailings are still here to stay and spread the festive word.