Now that the holidays are almost here, it's a great time to delve into the history of the greeting card. On my search, I discovered a combination of history, facts, and amusing trivia. Take a moment to relax during this hectic season, and learn about the history of the Christmas Card. - The tradition of sending greeting cards traces all the way back to the ancient Chinese.
They celebrated the joyous coming of the New Year by sending messages of friendship and warm wishes. If you were an early Egyptian you would have expressed your greeting on a papyrus scroll. At the very beginning of the Fifteenth Century, New Year's cards were produced in Germany. - The origination of Christmas cards began in England. School boys created them while practicing their writing skills. These boys liked to create cards for their parents.
- Sir Henry Cole of London commissioned the first commercial Christmas Cards in 1843. That year, Sir Henry simply found himself too busy to compose individual greetings. Inscribed on the card was the following message, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You". The card's illustration, by John Callcott Horsely, featured a family happily embracing one another while raising a glass to toast the recipient.
This card design was condemned by critics, as they believed it promoted drunkenness. - Louis Prang is considered the first American to sell Christmas cards commercially. In 1856, the German immigrant opened a small lithographic business near Boston. The greeting card industry in America is generally thought to have been started by him. He was producing more than five million cards a year by 1881.
Through the 1890's his cards gained more and more popularity. Prang was forced to give up his production of greeting cards, because cheap imports started to flood the market at this time. - The first official White House card was sent by President Eisenhower in 1953. The White House sent out 2000 cards in 1961. By 2005, that figured rose to 1.
4 million. - Today's Christmas cards are sold either individually or in boxes. Boxed cards are more convenient to use for your Christmas mailing list, while individually purchased cards are usually reserved for that "special someone".
Boxed cards account for 90% of holiday cards sold. - In 2006, 2 billion exchanged cards in the US. - 85% of Americans sent holiday cards, in the year 2006. - A religious message is contained within 1 of 3 holiday cards.
- The holiday season accounts for 30 percent of the yearly sales of greeting cards. - Christmas cards are the most popular seasonally themed cards. They account for three out of five sales.
Valentine's Day comes in at 25 percent, and is a distant second. - There are more than 3,000 greeting card publishers in the U.S. alone.
- The greeting of "Merry Christmas" is preferred 53% of us. "Happy Holidays" is preferred by 21%, while "Season's Greetings" if preferred by only 12%. - 56% of us base our decision about which boxed cards to purchase on the variety of cards offered, while 63% make our choice based on price. - An online distributor is a great place to find both variety and value. Due to the absence of space limitations, they can display many more cards than a traditional store.
Hopefully you liked this short history of the Christmas Card. As you can see, Christmas cards are rooted in the holiday traditions of many people.
John Oberhauser manages The Image Shop which carries several types of holiday stationery for making the family greeting letter look fabulous. They also carry printable designer certificate paper and letterhead paper for quickly creating a professional custom look for your personal or business stationery needs at less cost.