Christmas Card Day – December 9th

Children looking at Christmas cards in New York 1910 By Unknown author – The New York Times photo archive, via their online store, here, Public Domain,

Christmas Card Day

Christmas card by Louis Prang, showing a group of anthropomorphized frogs parading with banner and band. By Prang – American Antiquarian Society.

December 9th

There are no holidays I love more than Christmas. Of course the true meaning behind it, the message of love and forgiveness. The gift from God and Jesus to us. But with Christmas comes a feeling of love and togetherness. A season of giving and receiving.

Although Christmas has been highly commercialized, with that comes a great gift beyond something physical. We get to give and receive, both of equal importance. Giving shows you truly care about someone, and receiving is humbling and the gift of knowing someone cares about you.

I mean how happy are we when we walk to the mailbox and see a card for you inside it. Not a bill, not junk mail, but a little piece of paper that lets you know that someone, was thinking about you.

The tradition of sending Christmas cards started In 1843 in the UK, when the first commercial Christmas card was created in England by Sir Henry Cole, a government worker who helped set up the first post office. Cole was trying to think up ways for a post office to be used by “regular people.” So he set up the “Penny Post” so all citizens regardless of class, could send cards and letters.

John Horsley, Cole’s friend, who was an artist, designed the first Christmas card. They sold these first cards for 1 shilling. (about 8 cents a piece). The first Christmas card design featured two panels showing people caring for the poor. The enter panel had a family with a large Christmas dinner. There was some dispute on this first card is it depicted a child being given a glass of wine. Approximately 1,000 of these cards were printed and sold. These original cards are quite rare now and sell for thousands of dollars nowadays.

In the 1840’s. Christmas Cards appeared in the United States of America. They were so expensive though that the average person could not afford to send them. So in1875, Louis Prang, a German printer who had worked on Christmas cards in the UK in former years, and moved to America started mass producing cards so more people could afford them. He designed his cards with children, flowers and plants.

In 1915, Joyce C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards. Hallmark became and is still one of the biggest card makers in the world.

By the 1900s, the custom of sending Christmas cards had spread through Europe and had also become popular in Germany. Around 1960 printing methods started to advance and Christmas cards were becoming easier to send. It became more affordable too as it cost a half a penny to send a postcard or card. During this era it was popular to have cards with Robins, snow scenes and Nativity scenes. Postmen wore red uniforms and were nicknamed “Robin Postmen”.

The world’s first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole in 1843 Public Domain,

Christmas Card Timeline

A 19th-century American Christmas card
  • 1843 – Sir Henry Cole, a government worker in the UK created the first Christmas card.
  • 1840’s. – Christmas Cards appeared in the United States of America.
  • 1875 – Louis Prang, a German printer, mass produces Christmas Cards in the United States.
  • 1900 – Sending Christmas cards became popular in Europe and Germany.
  • 1900’s – In Denmark, a postal worker wanted to raise money for charities so he made pretty decorative cards to sell and he sold four million of these cards in one year. This practice soon spread throughout the world.
  • 1915 – John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards.
  • 1891 – by Annie Oakley, the famous sharpshooter and star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, sent the first
    personalized Christmas cards when she was in Glasgow, Scotland designed cards with her picture on them, then sent cards back to her friends and family in the United States.
  • 1910 – Handmade cards were becoming popular.
President Johnson‘s 1967 White House Christmas card By Robert Laessig, commissioned by the Johnson Administration,

Christmas Card Trivia

  • Only 15% of all cards sold are bought by men.
  • 45% of all cards sent are Christmas cards.
  • The most valuable Christmas card in the world was sold at auction in Devizes, Wiltshire, UK on November 24th in 2001 for $28,158 by an anonymous bidder. The card was the first Christmas card ever made by Sir Henry Cole. It measured 5 x 3 in and he sent it to his grandmother in 1843 and is hand-colored by the London illustrator John Calcott Horsley.
  • In the UK, an estimated $80,000,000 is raised for charities by selling Christmas cards each year.
  • Up until 2016, the conservation charity, Woodland Trust, in the UK, collected and recycled millions of Christmas cards and planted over 51,000 trees.
  • Ecards were invented back in 1994 by Judith Donath, who is the founder of Social Media Group at the MIT starting the eCard craze but most people still prefer physical paper cards, especially on Christmas. But the benefits of eCards are great, such as using less paper, killing less trees and being more affordable.
  • A Christmas card with 16,707 messages written inside it is in the Guinness Book of World Records. The card, created by the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, started at teh 2016’s Ride to the Wall event at the arboretum and then toured the UK, visiting schools, businesses and community groups so many people could sign it. Inside the card read “We would like to wish all members of the armed forces a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” They said they created this card to “Demonstrate the deep and enduring affection that the public have for our armed forces, who valiantly put themselves at risk daily, to protect the freedoms that we hold dear.”

What do to with Christmas Cards once the season is over

In this day and age we all pretty much know that the environment needs some help! We are cutting down trees faster than they are growing so you might wonder if sending Christmas cards is wasteful. Here are some tips on sending the best sustainable friendly Christmas cards and what to do with them once the holiday season is over.

  • Shop at sustainable companies such as Greenfield Card Company that makes their cards out of tree-free paper and 100% recyclable cardstock.
  • Recycle your Christmas cards. If they are all paper just toss them in the recycle bin. Just make sure to remove glitter, bows and anything that is not recyclable.
  • Make something new out of it. This is one of my favorites. Each year I make new Christmas cards out of the prior year’s Christmas cards. Cute out pictures and quotes and make up new cards using cardstock. It’s a great activity to do with the kids or grandkids too!
  • Make Christmas ornaments.
  • Make Christmas Gift Tags for next year’s gifts.
  • Cut down the front page of the Christmas card to 4” x 6”. (Of course only if there is no writing on the inside.) This will turn it into a postcard you can use for a Christmas card next year! Just draw a line down the middle, add to and from addresses, write your personal note and add a stamp!
  • You can cut them into fun shapes and make a puzzle out of them for the kids or grandkids!
  • Another one of my favorite crafts to do with the grandkids each year is cut out any animals or people pictures on the card, such as Rudolph or Santa Claus, and glue them onto popsicle sticks. Then make up your own puppet show!
  • Cut off the front card, if the other side is blank, you can write out your favorite holiday recipes to gift or stick into Christmas cards next year.
  • If you make treats and give them away in mason jars for the holidays, cut a circle out of the pretty pictures on your cards and add them to the top lid to make them look more festive!
  • Remember when we were little making those paper chains with paper at school? Well make the links out of your Christmas cards and make a pretty garland for future Christmas’s.
  • Frame it! It will become a pretty Christmas picture for next year to hang up or set beside other decorations on your tables.

Here are some things I have made with Christmas Cards.

I hope you learned some new fun stuff today. Merry Christmas to you and your family from me, Mimi!

Sources: WhyChristmas, Days of the Year, eCardShack

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