I am old enough to remember snail mail in all its glory. In fact I had six pen pals in different countries from Belgium over England to Ireland, Australia, the USA and of course Germany. Nowadays my wrist is so used to the computer keyboard that it struggles with longer letters, but back then ten pages a day were not unusual for me at all. Oh, the excitement when another letter arrived! Even though I miss the feeling, I hardly manage adding a hand written note today when I send a gift for example. Often I am shocked at how terrible my handwriting looks now although I have to admit it was never great. No matter how hard I tried, I never made an A in cursive writing in elementary school. Unfortunately my laziness or lack of motivation also goes for Christmas cards which is made worse by the fact that I have a few packs around. Who started that Christmas card thing, anyway? Let's see .... That would be Sir Henry Cole. He was an English civil servant and inventor and facilitated many innovations in commerce and education, for example in 1840 when he played an important role in the introduction of the Penny Post and the world's first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black. In 1843 he commissioned the artist John Callcott Horsley to design a Christmas card which was then printed in a small edition of about 2,000 cards and sold for one shilling each. The design wasn't popular with everyone because beside the feeding of the clothing of the poor it also showed a family drinking wine together including the child.
From England the custom spread to other countries, for example the USA where the first Christmas cards were printed in 1874. In the 10s and 20s of the 20th century homemade cards became popular. This is a compilation of facts collected by the printing company MOO. Click the picture to enlarge it.
So what do you think? Maybe I should get myself a really nice pen, practice my cursive writing a little and write some real paper Christmas cards after all instead of sending e-cards? What about you?