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In 1874 Louis Prang Opened A Print Shop In Boston, Creating The First Christmas Card. By 1880 They Were Producing 5-Million Cards

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Each year around this time, friends and families begin mailing their holiday cards. Christmas Card Day on December 9th serves as a reminder to get your stamps, envelopes, and cards together so you can share your holiday cheer.

  • The first recorded Christmas cards were sent in 1611 by a German physician, Michael Maier, to James I of England. However, the first commercial Christmas cards were sent over 200 years later.
  • Sir Henry Cole received frequent letters, and it left him little time for other responsibilities. In 1843, he asked his friend J.C. Horsley to illustrate a design he had in mind. Soon, Cole was off to the printer, and he mailed the first Christmas card in the Penny Post to friends, family, and many acquaintances.
  • Around 1,000 were sold at a cost of a shilling each.
  • Louis Prang, a German immigrant with a print shop near Boston, is credited with creating the first Christmas card in the United States.
  • Prang’s card was a painting of a flower and simply read “Merry Christmas”. This was a more subtle approach that defined the first generation of American Christmas cards. It also made it easier for mass-producing cards, allowing more people to buy them.
  • Lithograph firm Prang and Mayer started selling their whimsical Christmas cards, often featuring children or cartoon animals, across the pond to America in 1874.
  • By 1880, Prang and Mayer were producing a massive five million cards a year.
  • Early Christmas cards were influenced by Valentines and featured “paper lace” designs – embossed and pierced paper. They opened to reveal flowers and religious symbols and were prompted by new printing processes and techniques.
  • It wasn’t until the early 20th century that we started to see cards as we know them – with a fold down the middle and an envelope. The Hall Brothers – later Hallmark – created the folded card based on frustrations with the choices available at the time.
  • In 1910 a postcard seller, Joyce Clyde Hall founded the huge greetings card company, Hallmark. He started the business in Kansas, Missouri with two boxes of postcards.
  • Three angels appear on Hallmark’s most popular card. Two are in prayer and the third looks out of the card at the viewer with big blue eyes. The card originated in 1977 and has sold 34 million copies.
  • The sending of paper – or analog – cards have been in decline thanks to the rise of social media and the ease with which people can contact each other. Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsapp, emails – they can all take the place of a traditional Christmas card.
  • President Calvin Coolidge sent the first official White House Christmas greeting to the nation in 1927, penning a card on White House stationery that was reproduced in newspapers around the country.
  • The first official White House Christmas card was issued in 1953 by President Eisenhower.
  • In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.
  • Werner Erhard of San Francisco set a world record for sending 62,824 Christmas cards in December of 1975.
  • 15% of Christmas cards are purchased by men.
  • Over 2 billion Christmas cards are sent in the US each year.
  • Around 500 million e-cards are sent each year.
  • Seasonal Greeting Card Sales in the USA:
    • Christmas 61%
    • Valentine’s Day 25%
    • Mother’s Day 4%
    • Easter 3%
    • Father’s Day 2.5%
    • Other 4.5%
  • Preferred Greetings on Christmas Cards
    • Merry Christmas 53%
    • Happy Holidays 21%
    • Season’s Greetings 12%
    • Other 14%

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Days of the Year

ECard Shack

Daily-Journal

My Postcard

Hubspot

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