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History of Christmas greeting cards

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Christmas greeting cards might seem like an outdated idea to many but the gesture and tradition of giving your loved ones a card for Christmas cannot to replaced by anything. Millions of people still enjoy giving and receiving these cards with heart-warming messages. Let us look at how it all began and progressed.

John Horsley designed the first card and Sir Henry whose idea it was to design these cards and sell them for 1 shilling each. The design on the panels of the cards had pictures of people caring for the needy.  On the inside, it had the design of a large family sitting together for dinner. About a thousand cards were printed and sold.

Back in the day, postal services were expensive, and only the elites could afford them. The reason for this was because horse carriages carried letters and postcards. When railways were built, it was easier to carry countless cards and letters. Sir Henry started the penny post where people could afford to send cards for half the price. This was when the Greeting cards became more popular as more people were able to send cards to their loved ones.

Artist William Egley engraved some cards with designs of Charles Dickens’ novels, and these designed cards became very popular in the 1900s and spread across Europe. It gained a lot of popularity, especially in Germany. Earlier the cards had nativity scenes which were popular during those days. The robins and snow-scenes became more popular in the late Victorian era. The winter scenes were relatable as the winters in those days were very severe.

When these cards first came to the US in the 1840s, they were costly, and most of them could not afford them. A German printer named Louis Prang started mass producing these cards with designs of flowers, children and plants, which many could afford. John C Hall, with two of his brothers, created Hallmark Cards in 1915; this company is still one of the famous and biggest card makers of the day.

The personalised picture cards came into existence in 1891 when Annie Oakley sent cards to her family and friends in the USA with a picture of herself on it. She designed the pictures and the cards by herself, and with the help of a local printer, she got them ready to be sent to everyone.

The beginning of the 20th century is when handmade customised cards became more popular. A lot of creativity was put into the shape, material, design and the message in the cards. They were given by hand or even sent by post. It became a warm gesture, and the handmade cards added a personal touch to the cards. Fast forward to now where we are in the internet era where we have replaced these cards with WhatsApp or email forwards. But have we replaced them? I still like getting a real Christmas card, what about you?

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