History of the Christmas Letter

History of the Christmas Letter

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. This helps support what we do and in no way costs you a thing.

Christmas is that one time of year that the most greetings and salutations are sent out, and since the beginning of time, it was always an insult to not reply to letters received during this time. Of course, it was a hard and complicated task to respond to so many messages personally before the season was over. So let’s learn more about the history of the Christmas letter.

History of the Christmas Letter Cover Image

What would have been the plan to cover the time, cost, and energy to reply? Thanks to one smart fella, we now have a quick and easy way of responding to our large group of friends during the holidays.

History Of The Christmas Letter

How did Christmas cards originate?

Henry Cole was a famous educator and lover of the arts and was also among the most elite in society. As he traveled the coarse of early Victorian England, he landed himself in a tight spot by having too many friends, and close ones at that.

In Early England and even to today, there was the tradition of sending Christmas letters to close friends and loved ones and was an insult if you didn’t reply. Cole, who had stacks of notes on hand to respond to with little time, knew he had to come up with a plan to resolve the issue.

Before long, the idea came with the help of his artist friend, J.C. Horsley, to create a simple yet effective response card that he could send out to his friends and family. Though Cole had a lot of letters on hand while being busy, he loved the tradition of sending messages as it kept bonds and links alive.

History of the Christmas Letter

As the duo designed the card from the idea Cole struck up, the final product showcased a family seated at a dining table enjoying their meal while other parts had people helping the poor and needy. He then wrote, “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You” on the card with a salutation, “TO: ________” at the top. This way, he could personalize his cards and respond to all those he had received letters from.

However, the card got mixed reactions from the broader public as the images of the family portrayed young children having wine from a glass. Many people believed Cole was promoting underage drinking, which was far from the truth.

But amidst all the backlash, others welcomed the idea and saw it as a meaningful way of saving time while sending letters to others around the world. Since then, the Christmas card tradition has grown tremendously and is still a widespread practice worldwide.

Who invented the Christmas card?

Henry Cole, an educator, philanthropist, inventor, and artist, created the first set of Christmas cards. He was a stalwart determined to make a change in the way tradition did its thing by making life easier for everyone. Cole was a man of multiple trades as, during his early life, learned art and writing, and later worked for a famous novelist, Thomas Love Peacock.

He generally wrote critiques and did drawings for Peacock and, as the years went by, became a man in his class and fulfilling his dreams. Cole became the first director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and used his passion for creating historical traditions popular even to this day.

Over his busy years, Cole wanted a way of making life convenient for himself and for those who looked to him. Thus, he invented the Christmas card, which saved money and time and writing and responding for friends and family. To date, records show Americans purchase up to 1.6 million Christmas cards each year.

History of the Christmas Letter Christmas Cards

Do Christmas cards date back to 1843?

Generally speaking, yes, they do! Sir Henry Cole designed, sent, and sold the first set of Christmas cards in 1843 after he was looking for a convenient way of responding to all his letters before the holidays were over. His designer friend helped him along the way, and the success (though with backlash) is still evident in today’s world.

Since the inception of the Christmas card, millions of them are purchased, created, and sent each year. From the first set of cards produced in 1843, 12 still exist as a private collection in different museums around the world and include the one Cole sent to his grandmother that same year.

How many letters are addressed to Santa every year?

For many people, especially children, Santa Claus is that one person they look to each year to reward them with gifts “according to how they behave throughout the year. People send cards with requests of what would make their Christmas the best and how they intend to use their gift received. Of course, Santa request cards are sent through different mediums, and gifts are received in funny, exciting, and weird ways.

However, not all letters are answered as the requests come in millions and will take time to go through. To substitute, many parents have to play the role of Santa to their kids because let us face it…most adults don’t believe in the fairytale story.

But how many letters are sent each year? Countless! Records collected from 12 countries over one end-of-year holiday showed over 8,000,000+ letters addressed to Santa. Just imagine having another 183 countries in the world sending letters. That would be over 100,000,000 million if you should do a rough estimate.

Sending a Christmas letter is a tradition, and based on the rate people are sending now, it will be a tradition to live on for a few more hundred years. The history of the Christmas letter is fascinating with a significant reason behind its creation.  

Tags :