Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Firsts #2 : Christmas Card

 Handmade Christmas card - Wilma Simmons 2017 

Christmas cards,  in many places,  are already a tradition of Christmas past. Many people have told me that they send electronic Christmas greetings now, but for just as many, sending and receiving Christmas cards is one the practices most enjoyed at this time of the year.  I still like to make my own cards which I find  a really fun part of the Christmas card tradition.... well,  perhaps not when I am behind  schedule and putting the last spot of glue on a card on Christmas eve! 
Handmade Christmas cards - Wilma Simmons 

Have you ever wondered  who sent the first Christmas card and when? 

The first Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and designed and  illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London  in 1843. The first card had three panels - the centre showing a family celebrating  with the outer panels depicting helping the poor. 
The first edition of the cards were sold for 1 shilling each. In that era, that was expensive!   The cards were sent by Penny Post  introduced in 1840 as the first postal service in England that working class people were able to afford. Cards became popular in England and by 1870  they could be posted for a halfpenny if they were in unsealed envelopes. 

First Christmas Card 1843 
Cards were much more expensive in USA and even though they were introduced in 1840's it wasn't until a German born printer, Louis Prang began to mass produce cards in 1875 that  Americans could afford them. American sharpshooting star, Annie Oakley is accredited with the first "personalised" Christmas card in 1891. The card featured a photo of herself dressed in tartan as she was  visiting Scotland and had the cards made to send back to her friends in USA.  
Annie Oakley 1891 

If you are going to send Christmas cards, don't hesitate ... over the years the postal service hasn't become quicker, so this week is a good time to have your cards written and posted!  

Tomorrow there will be a follow up : the first Christmas postage stamp. 

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