Posted in History, Holidays, Vintage Collectibles

by Ruby Lane

christmas-cards ruby lane

Christmas Card Day is celebrated on December 9th of each year however, the tradition of sending Christmas cards is over a hundred years old. A beautiful picture accompanies the simple message “Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” There are many variations of greeting. Some cards express a religious sentiment; others contain a poem, prayer, Christmas carol or Biblical verse. Some cards shy away from religious themes by simply saying “Season’s Greetings.” Christmas cards often depict nostalgic scenes, such as 19th century shoppers in streetscapes. Some cards are humorous, many depicting Santa and his elves at work.

 

 

Frances Brundage Post Card for Christmas Greetings 1911

Frances Brundage Post Card for Christmas Greetings 1911

Via Hallmark: J.C. Hall took greeting cards out of drawers in retail stores, and into displays that let shoppers see all their choices.

Via Hallmark: J.C. Hall took greeting cards out of drawers in retail stores, and into displays that let shoppers see all their choices.

The production of Christmas cards in the 20th century was a profitable business for stationery manufacturers. The design of Christmas cards continues to evolve by adapting to changing tastes and printing techniques. The brand Hallmark Cards was established in 1913 by Joyce Hall with the help of her brother to market them. Some Christmas cards are homemade.

 

Children looking at Christmas cards in New York 1910

Children looking at Christmas cards in New York 1910

Since the beginning of their use, Christmas cards have been collected. Queen Mary made a large collection, which is exhibited in the British Museum. The University College London’s Slade School of Fine Art has a collection of handmade Christmas Cards from alumni that are displayed over the holiday season.

 

Christmas cards from the “Golden Age” of printing (1840s–1890s) are much prized and bring in large sums at auctions. The Christmas card that holds the world record as the most expensive ever sold was produced in 1843 by J. C. Horsley. It was sold in 2001 by UK auctioneers Henry Aldridge to an anonymous bidder for a record-breaking £22,250. There is a wealth of information on the history of Christmas cards on Wikipedia.

 

The world's first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole in 1843

The world’s first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole in 1843

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