December 19, 2006
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
from Your Business Blogger, Charmaine and the Penta-Posse
If you would like to be added to our good-guy Christmas Card list please email us.
Read about London’s John Calcott Horsley and the business of the first Christmas card at the jump. And the original meaning of “merry.”
When London’s John Calcott Horsley invented the first Christmas card in 1843 as a favor to Henry Cole, neither man had any idea of the impact it would have in Britain and later in America. Even the early Christmas card manufacturers believed Christmas cards to be a vogue which would soon pass…
The design showed a happy family raising a festive glass as a toast to the recipient. Sadly, un-festive critics condemned the design, for promoting drunkenness….
By 1880 their manufacture was big business, creating previously unknown opportunities for artists, writers, printers, and engravers…[Horsely] was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole who…was too busy to write to his friends as usual over the festive season. Printed in black and white and then colored by hand, 1,000 cards were produced for “Old King” Cole, with the leftovers sold off by the printer…
…John Calcott Horsley campaigned against naked models being used by artists, hence his nickname of Clothes-Horsely. This led to much shaking of heads and indeed nipples – as there also was when he designed the first Christmas card.
And from Ideafinder.com,
The first Christmas card’s inscription read: “merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you.” “Merry” was then a spiritual word meaning “blessed,” as in “merry old England.” Of the original one thousand cards printed for Henry Cole, twelve exist today in private collections.
Printed cards soon became the rage in England; then in Germany. But it required an additional thirty years for Americans to take to the idea. In 1875, Boston lithographer Louis Prang, a native of Germany, began publishing cards, and earned the title “father of the American Christmas card.”…
Today more than two billion Christmas cards are exchanged annually, just within the United States. Christmas is the number one card-selling holiday of the year.