Merry Christmas! December 25th is a special day and the biggest holiday of the year.
Almost all of us have, at one time or another, sent or received a Christmas card. These printed holiday greetings are a mainstay of the Christmas season in the United
Kingdom and many other countries around the world. But did you ever stop to wonder how this tradition got started? Who sent the first Christmas card?
Most historians trace the origins of Christmas cards back to the year 1843 in London, England. During the mid-19th century in Britain, it was customary to send hand written greetings to one's friends and relatives, wishing them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. In 1843, one Englishman, Sir Henry Cole, decided he was far too busy to take the time to personally write these notes. So instead, he commissioned his friend, John Callcott Horsley, also an artist, to paint some cards with a Christmas scene of merriment and a banner with a holiday greeting. Sir Henry's idea was to save time by just signing and sending the cards.
However, as the story goes, Mr. Horsley may have depicted too much merriment, as it appeared a number of children were enjoying a glass of wine in the painted scene. Sir Henry Cole, embarrassed by the resulting scandal and controversy, only sent out a few Christmas cards in subsequent years.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Kate Greenaway, a children's writer and illustrator in London, developed the idea of pre-printed Christmas cards. Ms. Greenway was much more sensitive to the "appropriate content" of the day, and her cards quickly grew in popularity.
I still prefer to send a handcrafted
greetings card whether it be hand made or hand painted although I do
enjoy painting cards in watercolour.
Note: You can view a bigger version of the handmade greetings cards by placing your mouse
curser on the image and click. A new window will open with the
bigger image. When finished viewing, just close the window and
come back here to view the other handmade greetings cards.
If you would like to know how to paint
a snow scene, make a greetings card or how to make a beautiful framed picture
form one of my watercolour greetings cards simply follow the Art and Craft links
on on the menu tabs above.
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