Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Did you know? (Christmas Cards Facts)

I love receiving holiday cards, and to be honest, my family almost never disappoints me when it comes to sending cool greeting cards (I'll post some of the images later). Last night I was browsing the net, for nothing in particular, and I don't even know how I stumbled across some interesting Christmas cards history bits :)

I've collected a few more to share them with you!

* In 1840s - official Christmas card tradition was initiated by Queen Victoria.

* Year 1843 - The custom of sending Christmas cards started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He commissioned a card featuring the artwork by John Callcott Horsley, which he sent to his grandmother (how nice!?). It later became world's most expensive Christmas card when it was sold for £22,500 ($35,800) in 2001 at an auction.

World's first Christmas card
 * Year 1875 -  Louis Prang, American printer, lithographer and publisher, brought Christmas card production to the US. Some often refer to his as the "father of the American Christmas card". Fast-forward 6 years - he's printing more than 5 million Christmas cards per year!

* Year 1905 - now the world's largest greeting card company, American Greetings, was started from a horse-drawn cart by a polish immigrant in Ohio.

* Year 1910 - the largest greeting cards manufacturer in the US, Hallmark Cards, was founded in Kansas City, Missouri.

* Year 1920 - Canadian greeting cards manufacturer, Carlton Cards, was founded in Toronto, Ontario.

* Year 1949 - world-famous UNICEF launched their charity Christmas Card program. It started after a seven-year old girl in the former Czechoslovakia gave her drawing to UNICEF to say "thank you" for the help she received. Today, UNICEF cards are sold in many countries using designs donated by artists from all over the world. (To buy some UNICEF greeting cards, just click HERE)

UNICEF Christmas card by a Canadian artist Terry Ananny

* Year 2009 - $157.9 million - yup, that's the value of stationery, office supplies, cards, gift wrap and party supplies purchased at large retailers in Canada in December 2009, up 97% from average monthly sales of $80 million for this category in 2009 and up 72% from November (these are the last available numbers).

* Year 2010 - according to Hallmark, about 1.5 billion Christmas cards are sent in the US each year (woah!) - now compare that with Valentine's Day, which sees a measly (compared to Christmas) 144 million cards.

* 600,000 - the number of cards that Santa receives in Finland

* 15% - percentage of cards purchased by men (no surprise here!)

* 54% - percentage of people that prefer "Merry Christmas" on the cards they purchase. "season's Greetings" is liked by 12% and "Happy Holidays" is preferred by 21%

And here's a fragment of the collection of Christmas cards I sent out to my fellow postcrossers this holiday season:

Sources: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/), Why Christmas? (http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/cards.shtml), Stats Canada (http://www42.statcan.ca/smr08/2010/smr08_149_2010-eng.htm), UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/), Hallmark (http://newsroom.hallmark.com/Holiday), published works of Terry Ananny (http://www.terryananny.com/Published%20Works.htm)

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