“Christmas cards are a thing of the past.” I have heard.
Yes, they are! A wonderful, rich, “feels like a hug” tradition going way back to a time where social etiquettes were much more rigid, yet, politeness and civility were the norm. Christmas cards were sent and responded to in equal measure with great anticipation.
Fast forward almost 175 years, 1.5 billion cards are mailed at Christmastime. It seems like a big number but the tradition of sending cards has actually seen a slow decline. I personally don't think our anticipation has declined... I always look forward to the mailbox at Christmastime.
Some may be too busy, too tired or think that the internet is a fine substitute. I am okay with the later if a physical card is an unaffordable option. However, for most, it is accessible during the season of giving. The time of year when we have the opportunity to unconditionally reach out and share our lives and well wishes with our loved ones.
Stop to think a minute about what it means to your friends and family, some you don’t see very often, to drop them a note and let them know in your own hand that you are thinking of them at the holidays and throughout the year. It is truly the best gift ever.
This part is REALLY interesting!
The History of the Christmas Card
Picture this… Merry old England, 1843, Victorian A-lister, Sir Henry Cole was so overwhelmed with the number of friends he had that he could not keep up with his holiday correspondence. The British postal system, called the “Penny Post” had made it very easy for anyone to send correspondence anywhere in the country for just a penny stamp.
His problem was that his status and social etiquette required him to respond to every card he received. He turned to his close friend and artist, J.C Horsley, with a new, inventive idea to illustrate a Christmas-inspired card that he could easily personalize and mail. The first Christmas card was created. One thousand, 5 1/8” x 3 ¼” cards were reproduced on cardboard that first year. The image was of a family celebrating the holidays while other people helped the poor. This is depicted in the opening image.
The Christmas card slowly caught on and had its next surge in 1875 when Prussian immigrant, Louis Prang from Boston, MA, created the first card in America. The image was a painting of a flower.
In 1915, Mr. Joyce Hall and his brothers, Rollie and William, from Kansas City, MO, officially changed the Christmas card industry by altering the format to a folded 4” x 6” folded card placed in an envelope. This allowed for more space to write without having to pen an entire letter.
Ten years later their company would come to be known as Hallmark. (Didn’t see that coming!)
They commissioned many famous artists like Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell, and even Jacqueline Kennedy to keep up with the demand of their products.
The most popular Christmas card ever created was by Hallmark. The image is of three angelic cherubs, created in 1977, with the message “God bless you, keep you and love you… at Christmastime and always.” They have sold 34 million copies of this card and it is still available in their collection.
SAPORI honors the tradition of holiday correspondence with three separate, colorful and bold collections, Town & Country Holiday, GeoChristmas and Holiday Doors. The SAPORI Holiday Collections along with a wonderful variety of other beautiful stationery and paper products are available online at www.sapori.co.
Researched through Smithsonian and Wikipedia