Some fun Christmas greeting card trivia.
With the holiday season nearly upon us, I thought it might be fun to look into the history of the greeting card. What I found was a mixture of history, statistics and fun trivia. So, during this hectic season, take a moment to relax and learn a little something about the Christmas Card.
- The practice of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese. They delighted in sending messages of good will to celebrate the New Year. The early Egyptians expressed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. The Germans printed New Year's greetings as early as 1400.
- Christmas cards originated in England. They were created by boys practicing their writing skills. The boys would make cards for their parents.
- The first commercial Christmas Cards were commissioned in London by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. Sir Henry found himself too busy to compose individual greetings that year. The card was inscribed with the message A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You. The card featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley of a happy family embracing one another and raising a glass to toast the recipient. Critics condemned the design for promoting drunkenness.
The First Christmas Card
- The first commercial Christmas Cards in America are attributed to Louis Prang. He was a German immigrant who opened a small lithographic business near Boston in 1856. He is generally credited with starting the greeting card industry in America. By 1881, he was producing more than five million cards a year. His cards continued to gain popularity through the 1890's. By this time cheap imports began to flood the market forcing Prang to abandon his greeting card production.
- In 1953 President Eisenhower issued the first official White House card. In 1961 the White house sent out 2000 cards. By 2005 that number had snowballed to 1.4 million.
- Modern day Christmas cards can be purchased either individually or in boxes. Individual cards are usually reserved for special individuals, while the boxed ones are more convenient to use with your Christmas Mailing List. 90% of holiday cards are sold in boxed form.
- 2 billion Americans exchanged cards in 2006.
- 85% of Americans sent cards in 2006.
- 1 in 3 of each holiday card purchased sent has a religious message.
- 30% of annual greeting card sales are attributed to the holiday season.
- The most popular seasonal cards are those for Christmas. They account for 60% of the total sales. Valentine's Day is a distant second at 25%.
- There are an estimated 3,000 greeting card publishers in the U.S.
- 53% of us prefer the greeting Merry Christmas. 21% like Happy Holidays and 12% go for Season's Greetings.
- Considering which boxed cards we decide to purchase, 56% of us base our decision on the variety of cards offered and 63% decide based on price. An online distributor is a good place to satisfy both these conditions. They are able to display more cards than the typical store can due to space limitations.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the history of the Christmas Card. As you can see, you're not the only one obsessed with this particular holiday ritual.
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