Christmas cards, one of the ways to wish merry Christmas, seem to be quite a modern origin for most of us. Very few know that the first cards made it appearance first in 1846 and started gaining popularity by 1862. Even the literature of the present day surrounds few stories relating to Christ wave and they lack one of the most important ingredient needed for excitement, that is, creating interest.
Most of the verses used as wishes in the Christmas cards originated in Victorian era. Moreover, the cards at that time were expensive and quite impressive. Nowadays, considering many factors, some cards are not even appealing. Many lack allusions in design and even in verse to Christ tide, to which they owe their existence.
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History of Christmas cards
The first Christmas card was designed by Sir Henry Cole, who was a civil servant. He created it with the help of his artist friend, John Horsley and sold it for 1 shilling, which was of worth much more at that time. The card had three panels – the outer two panels showed some people caring the poor and the inside panel displayed a family having large Christmas dinner. They are very rare now and cost thousands of pounds or dollars.
With time, printing methods improved and this had positive impact on the popularity of the Victorian Christmas cards. The cards started to be produced in large numbers around 1860. The Victorian Christmas cards had nativity as the base of their pictures. In the late years of Victorian era, an English bird Robin and snow scenes became popular.
In the United States of America, Christmas cards appeared around 1840. They were so expensive at that time that most people could not afford it. When mass printing of Christmas cards began to be produced by Louis Prang, a German printer, the card featured flowers, plants and children. John C. Hall and his two brothers created Hallmark cards, which is quite popular all over the world till date.
Homemade cards became popular around 1910 and 1920s. The shapes were irregular and had ribbons and foils on them. These were usually given by hand as they could not be posted due to delicacy. Nowadays, all sorts of scenes and images are featured on Christmas cards. Some charities sell their own Christmas cards in order to raise money for Christmas.
Specialities of Victorian Christmas
No era influenced celebration of Christmas as the Victorian era did. Christmas tree and Santa Claus were all unheard in Britain till the beginning of the Victorian era in 1837. It is said the queen Victoria was a big fan of Christmas cards and she encouraged her own children to create and send Christmas cards.
The Christmas tree
The Christmas tree was introduced by queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert who was born and raised in Germany. He made Christmas tree as popular in Britain as it was in Germany. This tradition is one of the most important ones being followed till today.
Giving of gifts
The process of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas also became popular from Victorian era. Initially it was carried out at the new year’s day, but was shifted to Christmas as the day’s importance started growing.