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Christmas Cards

The sending of Christmas cards began in the UK in 1843 by a civil servant named Sir Henry Cole. He took a great interest in the ‘Post Office’ and theorised at how it could be used by the ‘ordinary’ public masses.

Sir Henry had the idea for the first Christmas card with his artist friend John Horsley, selling them for a shilling each, which is the equivalent of 5p today. The design had a child drinking from a glass of wine, a design which some people disapproved of, however the general image promoted unity and good will. The development of the post office allowed people to communicate with others a lot easier, and subsequently the sending of Christmas cards began to become more and more popular. The improvement of printing methods also aided to the popularity of Christmas cards, and in the 1860s cards began to be mass produced. In 1870, the cost of sending a post card/Christmas card dropped to half a penny and as a consequence even more people were able to send cards in the post.

Traditionally, Christmas cards featured an image of the Nativity scene. Nowadays, however, cards can have any number of different designs. Father Christmas, snowmen, robins, Christmas trees are all common conventions of Christmas cards in today’s market, and can feature writings such as jokes or poems etc.

On top of this, charities make their own cards in hope of raising money and awareness for their own personal cause, whilst some people make cards by hand to give to others, which is personal to the person they are sending it to.


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