Tuesday, December 02, 2008

THE CHRISTMAS CARD


Christmas cards have always been a favorite staple of the holidays for me. I love selecting special cards to send to friends and loved ones and especially enjoy the thrill of seeing the first cards of the season arrive in the mail box. It's such a joy to see how each person's character truly shines through by the cards they select. With this wonderful tradition on my mind, I want to share a bit of background information on the history of the Christmas Card. And, as a matter of fact, our first card of the season arrived today!

History of the Christmas Card
(from Wiki)
The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London, 1843, and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley. The picture, of a family with a small child drinking wine together, proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totaling 2050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.[1]

Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials. In 1875 Louis Prang became the first printer to offer cards in America, though the popularity of his cards led to cheap imitations that eventually drove him from the market. The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.

The production of Christmas cards was, throughout the 20th century, a profitable business for many stationery manufacturers, with the design of cards continually evolving with changing tastes and printing techniques. The World Wars brought cards with patriotic themes. Idiosyncratic "studio cards" with cartoon illustrations and sometimes risque humor caught on in the 1950s. Nostalgic, sentimental, and religious images have continued in popularity, and, in the 21st century, reproductions of Victorian and Edwardian cards are easy to obtain.

10 comments:

willow said...

I loved this post, Rebecca! I have always been SO into my tradition of chosing and mailing Christmas cards. I bought mine back in the summer and it's almost time to start addressing them. I hope the internet doesn't do away with this wonderful tradition completely!

Love your new vintage pc header! It's perfect...she even has a teacup. :^)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Charming, and informative, as always.
This rite of Christmas is right up there with decorating the tree for me! Such an enjoyable part of the season. Both the sending and the receiving.

Betsy said...

What a perfect header for your blog! :)

steviewren said...

How interesting! I never thought to wonder about the history of the Christmas card. I've been thinking all week about getting the cards out and starting addressing them. Merry Christmas!

rochambeau said...

Hi Rebecca,
Isn't this the perfect time of year to take tea!! Great tribute to the Christmas card. I started making mine yesterday.
Hope you are having happy holidays so far!!
xox
Constance

the voice of melody said...

Very interesting, thanks for sharing! Is that your dog Lizzie on the left? She's a beauty! My dog is Lizzy too (spelled differently), but she's a cocker spaniel.

I've enjoyed reading your older posts as well, you have a lovely blog. :)

Mmm said...

but when do we get to se yours for this year?

Lynne said...

I thought I would stop by for tea, hope you don't mind. Sorry it's taken so long. What an intersting place you have here.

I'm particularly interested to see how the adoption goes. Do you think you will have a greyhound for Christmas? We've had Jewel and Paddy for a year now and Rufus joined us in June. It was quite a feat getting them all over here to Sweden when we moved in September. I intend to profile each of them on my blog sometime. They are such characters which they are still disclosing to us.

I recognise the Earl Grey Monument you feature having lived in and near to Newcastle upon Tyne for over 25 years.

Thank you for visiting me, do call in again I'll have the kettle on ready.
Lynne

Rebecca said...

Thanks all! I haven't had much blogging time lately but hope to remedy that over the next few weeks.


Constance, it's good to see you back! I'll bet your cards are divine.

MMM, I'll post mine next week. They're very different from the kind that I usually select but it fits our life right now...

Rebecca said...

Welcome Melody....Delightful blog you have! Yes, that's our Lizzie( often known as Lizzie Lou). She's the sweetest old girl...

Welcom Lynne, and thanks for visiting. Oh, the greyhound saga goes on..We're hopeful for a New Years Hound so keep your fingers crossed for us...It's been a long process thus far..much longer than the first time we adopted...