In 1843, John Calcott Horsley was contracted by Sir Henry Cole to make a Christmas card with a painting which included people whom were clothing and feeding the poorer people. The panel in the center showed a joyful family, hugging each other, drinking their wine and just enjoying each others company and the holiday celebration going on. The verse located on this first card was “A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You”.
So, thanks to Sir Henry Cole, the Christmas card custom began and popularity grew year after year.
Late in the 1800’s and the early part of the 1900’s, a Victorian illustrator and writer for children, Kate Greenway along with a woman named Ellen Clapsaddle, were among the favorites for the Christmas card. Their cards were decorated beautifully and elegantly with lace, fringe, satin, and silk, in the shapes of bells, fans, crescents, candles, birds and even Christmas desserts like a pudding made out of plums. Some of the cards could fold resembling a map or made to fit together like the pieces of puzzles. Christmas cards also included pop-up scenes which revealed miniature skaters, nativity scenes, Christmas visions and more.
Christmas cards wanted by the Americans had to be imported here from England for thirty years or more.
Then Louis Prang, who was a immigrant from Germany to the United States in the year 1875, started a store of lithography and was able to publish the first sets of Christmas cards in the United States. His Christmas cards included birds and flowers, which were not very connected to the Christmas holidays. He was able to produce over 5 million cards for Christmas every year, starting in 1881. Soon his cards were featuring fireplaces aglow, scenes of winter, toys and children playing with them and trees of Pine and Fir. His Christmas cards are still very sought after to this day by vintage Christmas card collectors.
During the years the Christmas card has changed, not only in its appearance but also in shapes and the sizes too. They now feature scenes of nature, more scenes of the nativity, Christmas trees with children nestled around them, pets in stockings hanging by the fireplace, carolers singing and too many more to name all in one space. Christmas cards are now satirical, comedic and down right funny at times. You even have t
E choice of buying one Christmas card or boxed Christmas cards with anywhere from 18 to 100 cards all the same or in a mixed variety.
No matter what kind of Christmas card you choose, know that your thoughtfulness and your heart felt sentiment will be appreciated and will spread a smile of joy on the recipients’ soul. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about, caring, sharing and loving our family and our friends. Have a wonderful holiday season.