Sir Henry Cole started the custom of sending Christmas Cards in 1843. A Civil Servant based in the U.K., Cole developed the holiday card idea with a friend, John Horsley. The two men designed the first card depicting people helping the poor and a family enjoying a large Christmas Dinner.
The first Christmas Cards sold for 1 shilling each. Those cards are now very rare and very valuable. The cards were first sent via the Public Post Office and gained popularity when printing methods improved and postage dropped.
Christmas Cards made their way to the United States during the late 1840’s. It wasn’t until 1875 when Germany’s Louis Prang began the mass production of cards, that everyone in the United States (besides the rich) was able to participate in exchanging seasonal greetings.
Early Christmas cards featured Nativity Scenes, flowers, children, and plants. Modern day cards are now very creative with tunes, 3-D pop-ups, and anything you can imagine. The popularity of Christmas Cards may never go away, but during the 2013 Christmas Season, the world was hit with a new phenomenon: The Viral Christmas Greeting Video.
For more information on the origin of Christmas Cards check out WhyChristmas.com.