Greeting cards have been around for as long as we can remember. We use them for various occasions, including Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and many others. Greeting cards are also used to express thanks and other feelings as well. Giving someone a greeting card is a thoughtful way of showing that you appreciate them. Likewise, receiving a greeting card can also make you feel appreciated and special. While it is such a common practice to exchange greeting cards, not many people know much about how and where they come from at all.

The Emergence of Greeting Cards

The act of exchanging written greeting dates back to the emergence of writing itself. The ancient Chinese had been exchanging written papyrus scrolls with Pharaohs from Egypt as a show of goodwill for the New Year. In the Middle Ages, Europeans started sending elaborate Valentine cards to win the hearts of their objects of desire. These fancy cards were also used for marriage proposals and to celebrate birthdays and saint’s days. There was no postal service back in the day, which means that delivery options for a card were extremely limited. It can be delivered through merchants or travellers who were heading to the designated location, or one could enlist a courier or a servant. As the means of delivery were very expensive and also unreliable, the act of exchanging greeting cards was mostly engaged in by the rich and famous.

With the introduction of the postage stamp in 1840, more and more people were finally able to afford to send greeting cards. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, a renowned civil servant and art patron, hired his friend and artist John Callcott Horsley to design a holiday card. That was when the design portraying a Victorian family feasting on Christmas and New Year was born. Over a thousand cards were printed in lithographically black and white, which were then coloured by hand, setting off the trend of mass-produced Christmas cards. As a matter of fact, the modern annual awards ceremony for the greeting cards industry is titled “the Henries” to show respect for Sir Henry Cole. To this day, a huge sum of money is raised for charities through the sales of Christmas cards every year.

By the year of 1870, hundreds of European manufacturers were selling cards at home as well as in the US. When a German named Louis Prang immigrated to Boston, deluxe editions of Christmas greeting cards were being sold widely in the States and even in England.


How Greeting Cards Become a Money-Making Business

The famous Hallmark Cards that we see today also have their own history. In the early 1900s in Nebraska, three brothers Joyce, Rollie, and William Hall started selling postcards. Not long after, they realized that people preferred more privacy for their greetings and began producing cards to be mailed in envelopes. In 1944, Hallmark’s renowned slogan “When you care enough for the very best” was brought about by a salesman who wrote it on a napkin at a meeting. The slogan is still on display at the HQ up to this day.

Greeting cards have made a lot of money for both large corporations and independent artists ever since the late 19th century. In 1890, Beatrix Potter – a young, talented artist – had found fame with her six greeting card designs using her own rabbit as a model. After that, aspiring artists have made profits by coming up with new designs for greeting cards. Today, there are countless designs available on the market, such as retro photography, knitted animals, and quirky humour. There are also customizable greeting cards today, where one can have any design they want. When it comes to greeting cards nowadays, the options are – quite frankly – endless.

If you don’t want to go the hand-made route, then buy a beautiful greetings card instead! You

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