Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas cards tradition and Zazzle Christmas Cards

Receiving Christmas Cards in my childhood was as good as getting presents. I loved to display it on a table. Or even on the Christmas tree! My mother probably told her friends and family that I enjoyed it very much. So I got cards from her friends as they sent an extra card for me. Later I learned how to write and soon I was also sending cards.

In my teenage years early celebration of Christmas started with a visit to local shops to buy a small pile of cards in the beginning of the month of December. Sometimes I also made Christmas Cards. I liked to draw winter scenes and Christmas decorated trees. As a result of sending lots of cards and receiving lots too I have a huge collection of cards and still love to receive it, send it and create it.



A lot changed from those early days. I get less Christmas cards in my mail box. I still buy cards to send but I also send e-cards, SMS, emails. As I usually don't have much free time I don't do handmade cards anymore. To make Christmas cards is a good option. My next post will be about this. It's another way of celebrating the season. You can create cards to send to your family and friends. This activity will keep your children entertained around the table for a couple of hours, it's a nice project for a saturday rainy winter afternoon! 

Buying Christmas cards is the option most persons will consider. So I'll present you with some beautiful Christmas Greeting cards specially handpicked by me from Zazzle. (Just scroll down to see it or read some more to know how did Christmas cards become a part of this Christian holiday!)

How did Christmas card tradition started?

The story is that first director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry Cole,was too busy to single write Christmas greetings and so he commissioned John Calcott Horsley to make an illustration. It was time consuming to hand write all of his Christmas letters. Something have to be done! And that was it! This happened in Christmas season of 1843.The central motif of the card was a family enjoying Christmas joys of happy dinner and people caring for the poor on left and right of that one illustration. And also a message: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." The first cards were sold for 1 shilling each.

Post was expensive before 1840, not everyone could afford it. In 1840 first 'Penny Post' public postal deliveries began in Britain. When letters were carried in carriage pulled by horses to write was expensive. But with railways there was much more space for letters and post price become lower. Cards become even more popular because if people send it in open envelope the stamp to use was just half the price of an ordinary letter.

How did Christmas card tradition become popular?

By 1860 Christmas cards were popular enough. Printing methods got better.William Egley illustrated Charles Dickens books and a card he made can be found in the British Museum. By 1900 several countries in Europe experienced this tradition already. Germany was the most enthusiastic country about it.
In United States of America cards appeared in 1840 but it was considered too expensive to buy it until Louis Prang started mass producing cards in 1874. This Massachusetts printer runned nationwide contests for the best Christmas designs. Probably America imported a lot of cards from Britain too.Hallmark Cards were created in 1915 by John C. Hall and brothers. In 1910s and 1920s homemade cards were in fashion. They were delicate and with unusual shapes, made with ribbons and foil. Hand-painted cards influenced by the Art Deco movement were popular during the 1920s. In the 1940s Christmas cards reflected World War II. Friends and family received cards with patriotic messages and symbols. In 1960s new printing methods allowed cards to feature embossing and gold foil. In the 1980's it was possible to reproduce beautifully fine art works as Christmas cards.

Clip art, e-card and Christmas Card software

The 90's and the wide generalization of computers brought the use of clip art. And i
nstead of paper cards, why not send out an electronic Christmas card? Since 2000 on e-cards become more and more popular.Making and sending a virtual Christmas card is easy and the normal thing to do for generations raised without handwritten letters. We just pick a site and follow the instructions at each step. Not very creative but with animation and sound E-cards are a lot of fun. Recent concern over the environmental impact of printing, mailing and delivering cards has fueled an increase in e-cards choice.

One could also create a Christmas card with special software. Personal photos could be added in cards along with original graphic motifs. Today we can design and print our own cards in personal printing devices with high quality. 

Sites like Zazzle also make possible to print like a professional typography and in large quantity. Here's a selection of Zazzle Christmas Greeting Cards I handpicked on Zazzle marketplace!


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