Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards became popular in Victorian England, they were mostly home made and given to loved ones. The first ever Christmas card was the brainchild of Sir Henry Cole, a leading cultural light in Victorian England who was later to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The first commercial Christmas card (pictured above) had a hostile reception from some people because it depicted a family, children as well as adults, drinking wine. The card was painted by John Calcott Horsley. It depicts a family feast, under which appear the words, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You". Side panels illustrated acts of Christmas charity - feeding and clothing the poor etc..

However it was Louis Prang, a 19th-century German immigrant to the United States, who popularised the sending of printed Christmas cards. Prang was a Bavarian-born lithographer who settled in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1850s and established a successful printing business. He invented a way of reproducing color oil paintings, the "chromolithograph technique", and created a card with the message "Merry Christmas" as a way of showing it off. He went on to produce a series of popular Christmas cards. By 1881 he was printing more than five million cards annually.
The first charity Christmas card was produced by UNICEF in 1949. The picture chosen for the card was painted not by a professional artist but by a seven year old girl called Jitka Samkova of Rudolfo, a small town in what was then Czechoslovakia. The town received assistance from UNICEF after the Second World War, inspiring Jitka to paint some children dancing around a maypole. She said her picture represented "joy going round and round".

Nowadays most people buy their cards from Hallmark etc., they are sent before Christmas Day and people use them to decorate their houses. It can be an expensive affair though, some families send and receive well over 100 cards. But what could be nicer than a mantle piece decorated with beautiful cards bearing good wishes from friends and relatives.


  1. Christmas Card idea :

    The 'stick-on abstract shapes' card

    This idea is great for young kids who are able to use a glue stick but are not quite ready for anything more adventurous (or messy!). Even the very young (18 months +) can make these cards if you have are prepared to apply the glue and then hand the shapes over for placement. We used this idea for our cards last year and they were a big success.

    You will need

    • blank cards
    • a selection of colourful paper
    • scissors
    • glue stick

    1. Cut out a selection of shapes from a range of colourful paper. I cut triangles from green origami paper, rectangles from red origami paper and circles from yellow and purple textured tissue paper. I used pinking shears to cut out some of the shapes.

    2. Provide your little one with the shapes, a glue stick and a pile of blank cards. For extra bling, let them sprinkle on some small metallic stars or add some Christmas stickers.

    TIP. Don't stress out if you little one keeps sticking the shapes half on and half off the card. Once they've finished simply trim around the edges.


    Just look, there are a lot of examples of very interesting Christmas Cards!

  3. And if you want to send someone a Christmas card, say, to your pen-friend or just proove someone that you are not a noob in the lang. you've been studying for so many years, here are two links for you, where you can find Christmas and New Years greetings and some verses)

  4. Handmade Greeting Cards are very popular nowadays. That's why i'd like you to see this web-sete and may be somebody will find smth interesting and useful for yourself.

  5. Sir Henry Cole (15 July 1808 – 18 April 1882) was an English civil servant and inventor who facilitated many innovations in commerce and education in 19th century Britain.

    From 1837 to 1840, he worked as an assistant to Rowland Hill and played a key role in the introduction of the Penny Post. He is sometimes credited with the design of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black.

    In 1843, Cole introduced the world's first commercial Christmas card, commissioning artist John Callcott Horsley to make the artwork.

    As for John Callcott Horsley RA (29 January 1817 – 18 October 1903), he was an English Academic painter of genre and historical scenes, illustrator, and designer of the first Christmas card. He was a member of the artist's colony in Cranbrook.