Facts About Christmas Cards

Here are some facts about Christmas cards.

  • The ancient Chinese sent greetings cards to wish their friends and family good luck for the coming year. In 15th century Germany, cards celebrating the new year were also produced and sent.

  • The first commercial Christmas card was devised and sent by Henry Cole in 1843 who sold the cards for a shilling. Cole was an English inventor who also founded the V & A Museum.
  • In the 19th century, the Post Office delivered cards on Christmas Day in the UK. Postmen were often known as robins because of their bright red uniforms and robins became a  popular card Christmas card motif.
  • In America, Louis Prang, a printer, produced the first commercially available Christmas cards. By 1881, over 5 million cards were being produced every year in the US.
  • Every year in the UK alone, an estimated 1.8 billion Christmas cards are sent and received. The average UK household sends out about 50 cards each Christmas and most are written and mailed by women.
  • Designing and making personal Christmas cards is one of the most popular craft hobbies in the UK. Charity cards are also popular, raising an estimated £50 million each year.
  • There are about 800 greeting card publishers in the UK, most of which are small businesses with just a few employees. The greeting card industry employs over 100,000 people.
  • About 60 percent of all greeting card sales are Christmas cards. About 33 percent of all cards have religious themes, while snowmen, reindeer, Santa and shopping are also popular.
  • President Eisenhower sent the first official White House Christmas card in 1953. The few cards signed by President Kennedy before his assassination are some of the most valuable Christmas cards ever written.
  • One of the earliest Christmas cards sold for £22,000 in 2001. There is a large and valuable collection of cards collected by Queen Mary, in the British Museum.

What next? Find out more Christmas facts by visiting our Christmas resources page.

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