People have been sending Christmas greetings to each other for hundreds of years. The first recorded use of ‘Merry Christmas‘ was in a Christmas letter sent in 1534.
The first known item that looked a bit like a Christmas card was given to King James I of England (who was also King James VI of Scotland) in 1611. The custom of sending Christmas cards, as we know them today, was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was a senior civil servant (Government worker) who had helped set-up the new ‘Public Record Office’ (now called the Post Office), where he was an Assistant Keeper, and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people. Sir Cole worked with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist, and made the first Christmas cards for the masses. At that time, these cards, and artists renditions were relatively cheap. Today, these originals are very rare and are very costly if you do find them. But Christmas cards were still mostly a tradition in England and Europe. Christmas cards did not become popular in the United States until 1915, when John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today.
I love sending and receiving Christmas cards. It is a big production in my house every year. I send the cards themselves, with a letter of the year’s events and happenings and a photo of us as well. After all, the purpose of Christmas cards to connect with your family and friends, and those you don’t see regularly.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.