Christmas cards… A much needed touch of tradition in this new norm

Things are all over the place, eh? We are holding it together, but there’s no doubt that the odd blast from our past life can sometimes bring a reassuring glow to our hearts. Let’s take Christmas, for example, it’s going to be different this year, isn’t it? And the circumstances suggest that keeping in touch with folk is going to be more important than ever.

So it won’t surprise you that we were chatting about this amongst ourselves… across Zoom… coffee cups in hand, with cake too, of course. We were lamenting about not being able to have a coffee and mince pies open morning, and Christmas cards naturally popped into the conversation next. This year, we all agreed, we need to take extra care on what we choose; make it super special.

But with that said, we also got diverted and started to wonder where all this Christmas card malarkey came from. And as a result of our musings, we discovered a few interesting facts that we thought we’d share with you.

What have the Victorians ever done for us?

Robin
  • Yes, it was the Victorians who kicked things off. The first card was commissioned in 1843 by a man called Sir Henry Cole, who wanted to wish his friends and professional acquaintances a “Merry Christmas”. A thousand cards were printed and sold for one shilling each.
  • This first card was designed by John Colcott Horsley, and he created a triptych – a 3 panel piece of art that depicts 3 scenes. In this instance, it had a centrepiece presenting a party with lots of food and drink, and two side panels showing a good deed in each – clothing the needy, and feeding the hungry.
  • Interestingly, the design was somewhat controversial because of the subject matter, though… the British Temperance Movement weren’t impressed!
  • It’s also worth noting that Sir Henry Cole had helped to devise the Penny Post only three years earlier, so you have to wonder if he had ulterior motives for creating what then became a significant postal tradition.
  • Postmen in Victorian England were often referred to as “Robins” because they wore red uniforms. And Victorian cards often showed a robin (bird, not postman) delivering Christmas cards.
  • Back in those old days, the Post Office delivered mail on Christmas day, and by 1880, eleven and half million cards were being produced. That will have kept the Robins busy!
  • Early designs focused mainly on flowers, fairies, and fanciful designs to remind folk of impending spring.
  • Snowy scenes became fashionable most likely because in 1836 there was a particularly harsh winter with many years thereafter enjoying heavy snowfall too. Thus such pictures became fashionable early on in the craze.
  • Before the 1930s, Father Christmas was as likely to be seen in green or blue as in red… But that all changed when a certain drinks producer took over the theme for themselves.
  • And now… the average Brit still sends 50 cards each year!
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So there you go. Has that helped to induce a teeny weeny bit of Christmas spirit in you? If it has, we reckon now’s a really good time to get your Christmas cards sorted, whilst you can’t go down the pub and are stuck in doors. Get ahead of the Xmas game and plan how you’re going to keep in contact with your customers!

If you’d like to find out more, just give us a ring or have a peek at our website here: www.braunstonprint.co.uk/christmas-cards… Go on… you know you want to really! Ho ho ho!