Sir Henry Cole is credited with the first commercially commissioned Christmas Cards in London during the year 1843. The first card featured a somewhat controversial illustration by John Calcott Horsley of a family with a small child drinking wine together. The earliest English Christmas cards featured humorous and sentimental images of children and animals, flowers, fairies, and other fanciful designs of the approaching Spring season, rather than the winter or religious scenes that are represented on today’s Christmas cards. Louis Prang was the first American printer to take up the idea of commercially produced Christmas cards in 1875. Cheap imitations and postcards eventually eclipsed the elaborate Victorian-style cards, but cards with envelopes regained their popularity again in the 1920’s. Nowadays, e-mail and telephones are a very easy way to keep in touch,
but these are no replacement for a beautiful card that includes a handwritten note from a friend or family member.