Monday, December 6, 2010

The Very First Christmas Card

As I was deciding what holiday cards to send this year, I started did this tradition even start?? So, I did what I do...I googled it! Thought I would share my findings...

Traditionally, Christmas greetings weren't cards, they were letters. Most sources I read seemed to imply that mostly children sent them. But adults must have been in on it too, because cards as we know them today were started in 1843 by Henry Cole, the first director of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He was 65 at the time...not a kid.

Having many people to write at the holidays & not enough time to do (hello, can we identify or what?) Cole commissioned John Horsley, a fashionable artist of the time, to paint a card for him. The card was a rectangle & showed 3 scenes. The central picture is of a family toasting an absent friend (said to be the recipient of the card). On the left & right of that are scenes of someone feeding the poor & another representing clothing the naked, whom I would also assume must have been poor. The greeting reads: "A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you." with To: & From: at the top to be filled in. Talk about easy to send!

The next year it caught on in England & the spread to Europe, but it didn't really take hold stateside for another 30 years, thanks to Louis Prang. Now, it's estimated that Americans send 4 billion Christmas cards a year.

Fun fact: Warren Nord & Tut Anderson hold the Guinness Record for the longest exchange of the same Christmas card. 57 years they sent the same card back & forth. That is a loooong time.

So, blog friends, how many people are on your card list this year? Anyone decide not to send cards?? Either way! It warms my hear to see cards start arriving in the mail. I am actually participating in my first ever Christmas card swap with Brooklyn Bride. Super excited!

Later, y'all!

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