Season’s Greetings From ABARA
by ABARA Team on Dec 24, 2022
Once upon a time in England, the custom of writing a Christmas and New Year’s letter to loved ones was a greatly cherished tradition. A prominent educator and patron of the arts, Sir Henry Cole—the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London—was an enthusiastic supporter of this custom. But being a social elite meant Sir Cole had a wide circle of friends. During the holiday season of 1843, those friends, were all expecting a greeting notes from Sir Cole, and this caused him much anxiety.
Then Sir Cole hit on an ingenious idea: He tasked an artist friend, J.C. Horsley to make an illustration showing a family at table celebrating the holiday flanked by images of people helping the poor. The drawing was then taken to a London printer where thousands were reproduced on a piece of stiff cardboard. At the top of each card was space for Sir Cole to personalize his notes, which included the generic greeting “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.” This became history’s very first Christmas card.
Sir Cole’s circle immediately recognized this as a good time saver and within a few years, prominent Victorians copied this creation, and were soon sending them out at Christmas. Several decades later the Christmas card caught on in the United States and it became an integral part of the holiday celebrations. Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant with a print shop near Boston, is credited with creating the first Christmas card in the United States in 1875. The card was a painting of a flower, and it read “Merry Christmas.” This simple approach came to characterize American Christmas cards.
The modern Christmas card industry arguably began in 1915, when a Kansas City printer started by Joyce Hall and her brothers published its first card. The Hall Brothers company, which changed its name to Hallmark, soon adapted a new format for the cards—4 inches wide, 6 inches high, folded once, and inserted in an envelope. This design was perfect for people who didn’t have enough room to write everything they wanted to say on a post card but who didn’t want to write a whole letter. Today, much of the innovation in Christmas cards is electronic. E-cards have become the norm, including video cards, and audio cards. Sentiments, too, are different than the stock greetings of the past.
In the spirit of Sir Henry Cole’s first card ABARA will like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers, customers and friends:
“A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.”