Christmas Cards

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Make Christmas special and send a personalised Christmas card.

Why not surprise the little ones with a letter from Santa.

We all take Christmas Cards for granted, but how did they come about? Below is a brief history to satisfy any curiosity that you may have on the subject:

Christmas Cards – A look at how they came about
There is a great miss conception that the tradition of sending Christmas cards is becoming less and less as the digital world of sending forms of messaging seems to be challenging the traditional and more personalised form of sending friends, relations and colleague’s compliments of the season.

But when did it all start?
We can trace the earliest from of sending cards in the UK back to 1843, credited to a gentleman called Sir Henry Cole. Records tell us that he was a “Government Worker” – Civil servant to you and me who had very much indulged himself in how the newly create Public Post office could serve needs more of the common man and woman in the street.
His good friend a gentleman by the name of John Horsley who was a designer and together they hatched a plan to create a series of designs that could be used for sending seasonal messages to friends and family. The first cards sold for around 5p of today’s money, a far cry from the online Personalised Christmas cards that you can buy online today.
The subject matter of the cards could be seen as a little questionable and not exactly as political correct as you expect. The initial designs the spread across three sections. The outer two had a very detailed view of the more wealthy supporting the poor in the streets or in the work house whilst the centre picture that had more colour certainly more happiness in it showed a large family enjoying the sumptuous delights of a rather extravagant Christmas feast, even depicting a small child being given a sip of wine, which was not seen favourably even by some of the more healed gentry.

It was 1840 that the first postal services could be available to ordinary people; this was under the banner of the first “Penny Post” where public postal deliveries began. Prior to this service it was usually only the very rich that had the funds to send anything via the post. The service was further enhanced with the progress of the steam railway network which fuelled the first Penny Stamp as a way of bringing in revenue to support the massive investment needed for this massive expansion project and that also the setup of the postal delivery network.

In relation to the old horse and cart and carriage network the steam train could carry much more post that gave great reason to distribute these Unique Christmas card designs. Also Speed was another great benefit, whereas in the past the horse drawn method would take weeks, steam trains could delivery in a matter of days, unlike the next day services you get from Make It Personal for most of our personalised Christmas card designs. Funny to imagine but cards increasingly became more popular when it was seen to be even more cost effective to send messages posted in unsealed envelopes, half the price of a standard letter.

The real acceleration in demand came as printing methods improved and brought down the unitised cost of each card, this was around 1860. By the 1870’s the cost has dropped significantly to just half a penny, this was both for post cards and that also for Christmas cards, making this more cost effective to send an increasing array of designs.
Popularity spread and by the early 1900’s the demand for cards had spread to Europe and especially Germany. As more and more designers saw this as a way of populating their designs it opened up the flood gates for even more lavish and personalised designs. Within the British Museum there is a very elaborate card that has been engraved by William Egley, who was responsible for some of the first interpretation of Victorian life to be seen by the author Charles Dickens.

Initial designs stayed traditional incorporating designs from the birth of baby Jesus and that also of the three wise men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh to their new king. Typical and very popular was that of a Robin, usually depicted in a very Victorian style, this also complemented many idyllic scenes of traditional English villages depicting them during the early drops of snow. These images became even more popular as in 1836 there was a particular sever winter which the Victorian people like to remind people of. The good old Robin was always a favourite too, creating in the early days very unique Christmas card ideas. The rise of the British postman simultaneously came about for which they soon took the name “Robin Postmen” because of their Red Uniforms.

Beyond that of the rise in popularity within Great Britain, the United States of America also started to take a shine to these new and exciting designs from Europe, these started to take shape in the late 1940’s but seemed to be very expensive for the average American citizen. At same time a German entrepreneur by the name of Luis Prang who had had a great deal of experience in working with cards within the UK market decided that the American market was robust enough to take a higher number of designs and so start to undertake mass production of cards so that the unit price could be a lot more favourable to the public in general. As early as 1915 there was the creation of one of the most successful and recognised Greeting Cards Company’s today. Mr John C Hall and two of his brothers started the company Hallmark – who many of you will be aware has such a global dominance on the global card market today.

Today’s designs, messages and formats of cards cover every single angle you can think of. The greatest evolution recently has been for a Personalised Christmas Card where via online sites you can upload favourite messages and pictures to truly give you the opportunity to create a Unique Christmas Card. You can even get a card sent from Santa for an extra special Christmas surprise. This has been extended into personalised gifts too; the depth of possibilities seems to be endless as technology allows us to be even more in the driving seat for the massages we wish to send.