Christmas, as we all know, is the time of year where you show your closest friends and family members that you are thinking about them and that you care about them. One way that we do that is to send them a nice Christmas card. There are now so many different types of Christmas cards available now that you can be certain that you can find the perfect one for your friends and relatives. You can opt for a religious one, a funny one, a cute one, or a traditional one with reindeer, snowmen, and Santa.
A Brief History of Christmas Cards
Michael Maier, a German physician, sent the first ever Christmas card to James I in 1611. Adam McLean, a Scottish writer, discovered this fact when he was having a look through the National Archives of Scotland. However, the act of sending Christmas cards to each other would not take off for another two centuries.
Sir Henry Cole, a British inventor and civil servant introduced the world’s very first commercial Christmas card back in 1843. He commissioned John Callcott Horsely to draw the picture, which depicted a family raising a cheery toast to the recipient of the card. On either side of the family were scenes of a poor family being given food and clothes. Around 2,000 of these cards were printed and sold for a shilling each.
Early Christmas cards in Britain didn’t depict religious or winter themes, instead they favoured fairies, flowers, and other designs that would remind the recipient that spring is just around the corner. In 1873, Prang and Mayer started to produce greeting cards in Britain before taking the company to America the following year. Come the early 1880s, the company was making more than 5 million cards a year. However, like with all things that are popular, other people tried to get in on the action by creating cheaper imitations. This drove Prang and Mayer from the greeting cards market.
During the 20th century, producing Christmas cards was profitable for stationery manufacturers and the fierce competition meant that the designs got better and that there was more of a variety to choose from. Hallmark Cards, who are still huge to this day, was created in 1913. They owe a lot of their success to World War I because people wanted to send cards to soldiers. They continued to remain popular after the war and increased in popularity again when World War II broke out.
In the last few decades, there has been a decline in the amount of people that send Christmas cards to loved ones. This is because we are now more connected than ever before thanks to mobiles and social media. However, despite this steady decline, billions of cards are still sent every Christmas around the world.
An Environmental Concern
e-Cards are becoming more and popular due to the fact that many people are concerned about the effect that printing and delivering Christmas cards is having on the environment.
It is estimated that 1 tree can make around 3,000 Christmas cards, meaning that 1 tree is enough for just 170 people to send cards to the ones they love. It is estimated that around 1 billion cards will end up in the bin come January, which is the equivalent of 33 million trees.
There are some great charities, such as the Woodland Trust, that collect Christmas cards to recycle. They also raise money that is used plant trees. In the 12 years that this charity has been in existence, they have recycled around 600 million cards and have planted more than 140,000 trees. This means that they have stopped 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent to taking 5,000 cards off our roads.
If you have friends from different countries, you might want to send them a Christmas card with a greeting in their own language.