Christmas Card Day

Yesterday, December 9, marked Christmas Card Day. How many cards have you received? Have you sent your cards?

Sir Henry Cole created the first commercial Christmas card in 1843. He decided that a card would be good to send to friends and family to help convey a range of sentiments related to the Christmas and holiday season. A government worker, Cole was also interested in finding ways to use the new public post office by more ordinary people.

The first card, below, was sold for 1 shilling each; about 8 cents today.


Cards are usually exchanged during the weeks preceding Christmas Day by many people in Western society and in Asia. The written sentiments include “Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” to poems, words to songs, prayers, Bible verses or something non-religious and more all-inclusive “Season’s greetings.”

Graphic designs range from depictions of the Nativity, something else related to the biblical Christmas story to photos of pets and cartoon characters and scenes far from the traditional.

Several years ago, the family newsletter was popular. From a typed letter with a small photo enclosed to a professionally-looking designed newsletter, the reason for this form of greeting was to communicate the news throughout the year to friends and family members. Life is busy and just a few lines doesn’t give us space to report all the awards, tests, concerts, births and deaths.

While the cost of postage continues to rise, the popularity of sending cards during this season has stayed steady. One variation of the front and back card includes a photo postcard. It is as easy as finding a website that lets you upload a photo and follow easy steps to create your own card.

If you’re truly a creative type, you can make your own greeting cards. Visit any craft store at this time of year and you’ll be overwhelmed with the choices of paper, embellishments, envelopes, etc.

With the popularity of, many of us have found creative ways to display the cards we receive. From decorative baskets to twine lines with small clothespins to old-fashioned masking tape affixed to walls and doors, there seems to be no limit in displaying greetings from friends and family all over the world.

And like so many other ideas, you can be held by a list of etiquette rules. The website enlightens us with these seven rules:

  1. Send early.
  2. Avoid digital cards.
  3. Write “Season’s Greetings” when in doubt if your recipient celebrates Christmas.
  4. Always include your return address.
  5. Don’t send family photos to business associates.
  6. Be sure to hand write a small note.
  7. Keep your message brief.

Follow the rules or not, the main thing is to share greetings… and perhaps some family news. You can read more etiquette here.

For those of us more digitally inclined, several websites have e-cards available. You can personalize them and send to multiple friends at once. These cards come in multiple varieties from singing reindeer and interactive landscapes.

Photo Credit

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