Xmas Cards

Sir Henry Cole of London commissioned the earliest known published Xmas cards in 1843, he hired the artist John Calcott Horsely to illustrate the card. The Christmas card depicted a family drinking wine together with people on either side of them performing acts of charity. This was to show that while Christmas was being celebrated the wealthy should remember those who were needy.

Cole was clearly a shrewd man, he had helped to commission the Penny Post just a few years earlier and so his Xmas cards were an excuse for people to use the postal system (which was still a bit of a novelty) whilst earning him some cash.  A total of 2050 of these first Xmas cards were printed and each was sold for a shilling.

The card read: “A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year To You”. These words are pretty much standard on Xmas cards of today.

Early Xmas cards were designed with the intention of reminding the recipient of the spring that was ahead so often didn’t depict the religious or winter themes we are used to seeing.

When postcards were introduced by the Post Office in 1870 the very ornate Victorian Xmas cards saw a decline but by the 1920s cards in envelopes had regained popularity.

Xmas cards like birthday cards vary in design these days but generally fall into one of four groups:

Religious – the Nativity Scene
Traditional – a wintry landscape or Santa Claus
Cute – a fluffy polar bear or a penguin
Humorous - a cartoon reindeer and Father Christmas having a snowball fight

More information regarding Xmascards.co.uk is available on Domains.co.uk