Article by Jennifer Landers
As Christmas approaches, your mailbox becomes increasingly full of festive cards from your loved ones and perhaps some ghosts from your past. Although we appreciate the sentimentality, Christmas cards have become somewhat expected. If you forget to send Mom a card this year, you better believe you’ll hear about it. Christmas cards can sometimes become more of a chore than a joy. Here are some interesting tidbits about this postal tradition to get you in the scribing mood.
The first Christmas card was made in 1843 in London for Sir Henry ColeThe first Christmas card was commissioned by an English artist by the name of John Calcott Horsley by Sir Henry Cole. The card’s message wished Cole’s friends a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The trend caught on, and by 1860, Christmas cards became an English standard.
Christmas cards are Valentine copycatsSome of the earliest Christmas cards, dating back to the 1850s, are nearly identical to Valentines that were produced during the same time period. Card makers simply replaced Valentine motifs with Christmas images, such as birds.
There are around 3,000 card manufacturers in the United States.Competition in Christmas card manufacturing is fierce. The industry can be segmented into smaller, family-operated companies and large corporations.
The biggest card-sending holiday is ChristmasChristmas has beat Valentine’s Day as the biggest card-sending holiday. Somewhere around 2 billion Christmas cards are sent each year.
Hallmark has more than 2,700 Christmas card designsHallmark.com, a leading card manufacturer, has more than 2,700 Christmas card designs including boxed varieties, singles, singing cards, over-sized cards and more.
It is estimated that women purchase around 80 percent of all greeting cardsWomen are also more likely to buy their cards in bulk, and pay attention to the price. Men tend to focus on one card, and price is not a major purchasing factor, according to the GreatingCard.org.
Around 500 million e-cards are sent each yearIn this digital era, e-cards are becoming increasingly popular. Regular greeting cards are still more popular, with more than 7 billion sold each year, but that doesn’t stop greeting card manufacturers from shaking in their boots. Card makers advertise the impersonal qualities of e-cards to deter growth of online card sending.
The White House didn’t start sending Christmas cards until 1953President Eisenhower was the first to send “official” White House Christmas cards in 1953. Now, the White House sends more than 1.4 million cards. (And you thought YOUR list was long!)
Christmas card prices are usually between 50 cents and It’s a wide scale, but most cards fall between 2 and 4 dollars. Cards with special features such as song and animation are at the top of the price scale, while simple cards and boxed varieties are less expensive.
The most expensive Christmas card was sold for ,000The very first Christmas card aforementioned, sent by Sir Henry Cole, was sold at an auction in Devizes, Wiltshire, UK in 2001 for the equivalent of 40,000 USD. (That should make you feel better about your Christmas card spending.)
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