Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rethinking Christmas Cards

Photo courtesy of Gracie at Morguefile.
The Christmas card, like many of our modern Christmas traditions, got its start in the Victorian era.

Sir Henry Cole, a British civil servant, is credited with printing the first Christmas card for consumer use in 1843. The idea caught on quickly. The following year, more than 25,000 Christmas cards were sold. 

Helping to propel the Christmas card to popularity was the creation of the new "Penny Post" in 1840. Finally, the public, not just the very wealthy, could send mail at a reasonable cost. The introduction of trains sped up delivery and made sending quantities of mail to distant locations possible.

In the United States, Christmas cards were beginning to catch on as they had in England. But, it wasn't until 1875 that a printer named Louis Prang began mass producing cards. In 1915, Hallmark Cards was created by John C. Hall and two of his brothers.

 By then, the Christmas card tradition was fully entrenched in society.

Fast forward to 2011 and the modern Christmas card. How do you feel about them?

Are they a welcome addition to your holiday celebrations? Or a chore that you grit your teeth to get through?

I have mixed feelings. While I do enjoy receiving holiday cards from friends and family, I kind of hate addressing all the envelopes, signing cards and mailing them. It's the one aspect of the holiday season that I totally procrastinate on and dread doing.

This year, in an effort to simplify both my life and the amount of clutter around me, I'm not doing Christmas cards. I'm not sure why, but I feel like a heathen admitting that. However, I think the sky is NOT going to fall, though Sir Henry Cole may roll over in his grave a bit.


  1. I sent Christmas cards for a lark a few years ago. I only did it once or twice. I'm pretty much over it at this point, and haven't done it for years.

    Quite frankly, with the advent of social media like Facebook/Twitter, I figureI don't need to give an end-of-the-year newsletter to update my friends and family about what's going on in my life...and I really don't have the money to waste or the desire to clutter up my friends' houses.

    Comet to think of it, I don't really get Christmas cards either. My friends must feel the same way I do :)

    - Dana

  2. I do love to get them! I never know what to do with them once Christmas is over though. It's hard to throw pictures of your friends' kids away! On sending, I'm lucky that my husband takes on that task. Otherwise it might never happen around here!