Invitations, Announcements & Photo Cards

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The History of Christmas Cards

Back in 1843, Sir Henry Cole, a British civil servant, realized he didn’t have enough time to write personalized, lengthy Christmas letters to his friends and extended family members. Instead, he asked his friend John Callcott Horsley, renowned painter, to design a picturesque card with space for a brief message that could be mailed out to everyone.

And so, Christmas cards were born.

The card, which featured the greeting “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You,” replaced the individual Christmas greetings that Sir Cole and others regularly sent to friends and family during the holidays. It was the beginning of a long-standing tradition.

By 1875 mass-printed cards had almost completely replaced handwritten greetings in both Europe and the United States.

Today, over two billion Christmas cards are sent each year!