Modern Christmas cards date back to 1846 and a man called Sir Henry Cole, yet he is just one of the many minds that have brought about the concept of Christmas cards over the last few thousand years. So, why do we still send them?
Looking briefly at the history of Christmas Cards helps us understand their place in today’s world…
Exploring the History of Christmas Cards
The Chinese and the Egyptians had the original idea of sharing greetings via written messages – mainly around New Year’s celebration at first (not New Year as we know it now of course!). It is thought those ancient greetings were only sent to ward off evil spirits across both cultures and not sent at other times of the year. Of course, they also bore no similarities to the types of cards we are all used to these days!
Sending of cards really started to evolve once printing presses became mechanized as well as the later arrival of postage stamps and an industrial postal system.
Why do we send Christmas Cards
This is where Sir Henry Cole came into play – he is widely credited with inventing the commercial Christmas card, as well as being involved in many other innovative things for the era, such as the Great Exhibition – which helped (through its surplus funds), to found the V&A Museum in London, along with driving forward the introduction of the Penny Post.
This is a picture of the first commercially produced Christmas Card back in the 1840s!
The idea of sending cards on certain days like New Year’s and Valentine’s Day had already occurred, therefore it made sense to start thinking about creating a commercial industry based on Christmas cards alone.
And whilst clearly designs and styles of cards have changed since then, the principal hasn’t changed much at all in over 150 years!
Studies Prove Emotional Connection
In light of technological advances in those 150 years, it might seem a bit silly to some, to still be sending proper physical Christmas cards, yet a study commissioned by the Royal Mail showed that there are still numerous reasons why cards continue to stick around.
The study showed that an overwhelming 72% of people would prefer to receive a proper Christmas Card rather than an electronic greeting or message through e-mail or social media. In fact, 27% of people said that would actively ignore or delete an e-card, with even more saying they thought an e-greeting was “silly” or “too generic”
The positive feelings generated by receiving any type of card, but particularly Christmas cards, are good for health and wellbeing, according to comments from cognitive neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw. She said: “I firmly believe that receiving cards increases self-esteem, helps to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation and even to ward off the early stages of depression.”
How Do You Feel When You Get a Christmas Card?
I don’t know about you, but when a card is sent to me it reminds me of the person and it shows me how much they care. They took time to communicate their feelings, instead of sending a text, using Facebook, Twitter, or other electronic methods. They went out, spent the time to select a card, and spent their hard-earned cash to buy and send it.
Back to Dr Shaw – “time is the most precious thing we have to give, so if we spend time choosing, writing and sending a card we are helping people feel valuable and worthwhile.”
So, I believe it is about much more than simply; keeping in touch, to update a person about the last year, or to say your annual ‘hello’. When you send a Christmas Card, you are showing that person that you are thinking about them and are, in effect, sending them a ‘pocket’ of your time – something which makes anyone feel just that little bit more special at Christmas.
At Creased, we try to find the best cards so you can make a maximum impact when sending.
The Golden Age of Christmas Cards
You may not realise, but we are currently in the golden age for Christmas Cards. We are spoiled for choice!
Can you remember back 20 years ago, how generic and typical the Christmas cards were? Nowadays we have seen a huge improvement in digital design meaning that there are thousands of talented designers lining up to be featured in retail stores, like us! Not to forget the timeless homemade designs…
We have such a huge range to choose from which means we can provide you with the very best cards possible.
With this rise in design, we have also seen a change in Christmas card trends in recent years.
The Rise of Funny Christmas Cards
In recent years, people have started adapting their sense of humour to suit greeting cards… This is the same with Christmas cards. Christmas time is supposed to bring happiness and laughter. Back this up with a funny Christmas card!
On the back of the growth in Funny Christmas cards, has led to utilising the opportunity to let out their more rude side of their humour.
This has created some absolutely disgusting Christmas cards and we absolutely love it! We can finally show everyone our rude sense of humour.
Other Christmas blog posts
- 12 of the funniest Christmas Cards
- What to write in a Christmas card
- Survival guide to Christmas
- Christmas cards for work colleagues you hate
- Why do we send Christmas cards