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The Story of the First Christmas Card. "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You“
Who Created the First Christmas Card? There is some debate over who was the "inventor" of the Christmas card. The oldest Christmas card created for general distribution probably was created by William Egley Jr.; a 16 year-old British youth. His 3 1/2-inch- by 5 1/2-inch, preserved in the British Museum, depicts four holiday scenes and a "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" greeting with blanks after the word "To" on the top and "From" at the bottom. The date on his card is 1842... or 1849.
The First Horsely Christmas Card. In the year 1843, Sir Henry Cole commissioned John Calcott Horsley to paint a card showing the feeding and clothing of the poor. A center panel displayed a happy family embracing one another, sipping wine and enjoying the festivities. (So much for good intentions. The card drew criticism because showing a child enjoying a sip of wine was considered "fostering the moral corruption of children.“)
A Replica of the First Horsely Christmas Card. "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" was printed on that first Christmas card. Horsley produced 1,000 cards and offered them for sale at 1s (one shilling) each. Legend says Sir Henry Cole didn't send any Christmas cards the following year, but the custom became popular anyway.
Christmas Cards in the United States. In 1875, Louis Prang, a German immigrant to the U.S., opened a lithographic shop with $250 and published the first line of U.S. Christmas cards. His initial creations featured flowers and birds, unrelated to the Christmas scene. By 1881, Prang was producing more than five million Christmas cards each year.
A Replica of a Louis Prang Christmas Card. His Yuletide greetings began to feature snow scenes, fir trees, glowing fireplaces and children playing with toys. His painstaking craftsmanship and lithographic printing have made his cards a favorite of collectors today.
Christmas card by Louis Prang. Late 18th century.
The tradition of sending Christmas cards has evolved over the years. Today, many companies have even adopted the practice by sending business Christmas cards as a way to wish their customers a very happy holiday. Electronic cards, or e-cards are also flooding the Internet.
As Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ, cards often show scenes of His nativity. Others show images associated with Christmas such as wintry scenes of snow-laden pines, Father Christmas (Santa Claus), stars, candles or holly. The traditional greeting written on a Christmas card is "Merry Christmas", but many other greetings are also used, such as "Happy Xmas" or "Happy Noel".
Sources of Information: http://www.holidaydecorations.com/Christmas-Card.html http://www.englishclub.com/esl-articles/200112.htm http://www.stosyth.gov.uk/default.asp?calltype=dec02cards http://graphix.areavoices.com/page/2/ http://www.squidoo.com/Christmas_Decoration_Ideas