history of christmas cards

We detail the full and interesting journey from 1843 to 2020!

QUICK FACTS ON THE FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD

Have you ever wondered where the tradition of mailing Christmas cards originated? The answer is quite interesting and multi-tiered! Before we dive into the full history lesson, we organized the most frequently asked questions upfront for quick and easy answers.

Who invented the Christmas card? Sir Henry Cole in 1843. (read more)

Which country sent the first Christmas cards? The United Kingdom.

What did the first Christmas card look like? The first Christmas card featured three panels of imagery. The central panel celebrated a traditional dinner party scene with people drinking wine. The two exterior panels showcased acts of kindness such as helping the poor. Both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” were spelled out on the card. (read more)

Print fun History of Christmas Cards infographic

THE FULL & INTERESTING HISTORY

While it might feel like Christmas cards have been around forever, the history of Christmas cards is actually quite short! Well, it’s short by historical standards, having started only a little over 175 years ago. That said, each generation’s love of the tradition has allowed it to evolve quickly over time and put a unique spin on every year of design.

The first “real” Christmas card was the brainchild of Sir Henry Cole, a dedicated civil-servant and scholar in the United Kingdom. Sir Cole had just worked to pass a reform that lowered the cost of postage to a single penny (the “penny post”) to encourage British citizens of all walks of life to use the postal system. However, he needed to find a way to get more people using the mail to help finance the change.