Christmastime is great for many reasons, one of which is the increased action my mailboxes sees—more handwritten envelopes and pretty stamps than any other time of the year. I love the tradition of sending and receiving cards, getting updates on the lives of those I no longer live near. Even with the rise of email and paperless invitations, I'm delighted that it seems we can all agree on the physical card at Christmas.
After a bit of research, I was surprised to find that the tradition of Christmas cards is not all that old. Read below about how they began and have evolved over time.
1843 - The first Christmas greeting cards were produced and sent in London, on commission by a civil servant and inventor, Sir Henry Cole. On one side, illustrator, John Callcot Horsley depicted a family raising a toast and the other side featured images of food and clothing being distributed the poor.
1873 - Printmakers Prang and Mayer began production of greeting cards for the English market.
1874 - Prang and Mayer began selling cards to the American market.
1913 - Hallmark Cards was founded in Kansas City, Missouri by two brothers, Joyce and Rollie Hall.
1914-1918 - Hallmark card production soared due to demand for cards to send to WWI soldiers.
1927 - Calvin Coolidge sends the first presidential Christmas note, wishing peaceful tidings for the season.
1953 - President Eisenhower sent the first official White House Christmas card. The list of recipient has grown every year, reaching an astounding 1.5 billion by the time George W. Bush was in office between 2001 and 2009. (See a gallery of presidential cards here.)
2015 - Research by the Greeting Card Association showed that Christmas cards constituted 25% of annual greeting card sales, meaning Americans spent about $2 billion on cards.*
* According to this Money.com article