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Origin Of Popular Products: The First Christmas Card

We have a section of our site is called “Origins Of Top Businesses”.

It features interesting facts about the early years of well-known businesses.

We’ve added a small variation to that section.

It’s called “Origins Of Popular Products“.

Today I will show you how the Christmas card came to be.

history of the first christmas card

  • Sending Christmas cards wasn’t always a Christmas tradition. It was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole.
  • He was a Government worker who was very interested in the new “Public Post Office” and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.
  • Up until this point, the postal service was mainly used by the very wealthy. 
  • The first Christmas cards were commissioned in London on May 1, 1843 by Sir Henry Cole and artwork was done by his friend John Callcott Horsley.
  • The center picture showed three generations of a family raising a toast to the card’s recipient: on either side were scenes of charity, in which food and clothing were being given to the poor.
  • There was a supposed controversy because one of the scenes showed a child being given a glass of wine!
  • How many were first made and sold? Two batches that totaled 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year.
  • How much did they cost? A little bit more than they do today: 1 shilling = 8 cents. 🙂
  • You might be surprised to learn this, but, the early English cards hardly ever showed winter or religious themes.
    Instead they featured flowers, fairies and other designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring.
  • Funny and sentimental images of animals and kids were also popular, as well as elaborate shapes, decorations and materials.

Sources: Wikipedia &

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About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.