The Tradition of Sending Holiday Cards

The Tradition of Sending Holiday Cards

There are a lot of traditions that surround the holiday season: baking cookies, giving gifts, singing carols. Around this time every year, we gather with our loved ones and reflect on the love and gratitude that we share with one another.

Every year, my family accumulates a huge stack of holiday cards from our friends, family members, and neighbors. The cards range from typed Word documents detailing every moment of one family’s year to a simple photo card with some signed well-wishes. My mom and I always take the time to go through the stack, reading what the people in our lives have been up to.

My family isn't alone in this tradition – Americans buy 6.5 million greeting cards every holiday season. This got me thinking: why do we send holiday cards?

Stack of holiday cards on table

How it began

I learned that the first Christmas cards were sent in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, a government worker who wanted more everyday people to use what is now known as the post office.

So, he went to his buddy, John Horsley, who was an artist and, together, they designed the first card. Originally, their holiday cards featured nativity scenes, robins, and snow scenes.

This tradition made its way across the pond to the USA in the 1840s; in 1875, a printer named Louis Prang popularized sending cards by mass-producing them so people could afford it. His first cards featured flowers, plants, and children.

Once the railways were built and printing methods improved, allowing the practice to become more & more affordable, Christmas cards exploded and were sent into homes across the country!

Addressing holiday cards

Why does the tradition prevail?

We need to connect this year.

2020 has certainly put us all through the ringer – cancelled weddings and other events, not seeing friends and family, living life through our masks. Although we're not through to the other side yet, sending holiday cards to everyone you missed this year is a great way to reinforce your connection to them. In a year in which everyone has felt sad, confused, hopeless, or lost, sending a holiday card can be a bright spot in their daily routine.

We can stay in touch with family & friends near and far.

We have social media, the internet, and texting literally at our fingertips all day long. But, how often do we actually use it to keep in touch with our family and friends? Sending a holiday card to those you love – both near and far! – is a great way to send a thoughtful note, catching the recipient up on what you’ve been doing this year.

We can see our family grow year after year.

The picture on your Holiday Card isn’t just for the people who receive it – it’s for you, also! What’s a better excuse for putting your kids in their best outfits and having them all smile for the camera? Soon, you’ll have years of photos to look back on – so you can cherish every toothy grin, every bad haircut, every trendy fashion choice, and every glow-up.

We can make someone smile.

Maybe it’s because we have the ability to communicate with any person at any time, but I love a good piece of snail mail. It’s personal and it’s special because it takes more than a split second’s worth of effort. (Plus, if you’re a brand or small business, sending personalized Holiday Cards will make you stand out with your clients!)

Are you planning on sending Holiday Cards this year? Check out our 2020 collection now!

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