8 Interesting Facts about Christmas Cards

Whilst planning my Christmas card writing service, I came across some interesting facts about Christmas cards and thought I would share them with you.

Who invented the Christmas Card?

Well, back in the Victorian period the tradition was to send a letter to family and friends at Christmas.  Sir Henry Cole a founding director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, was also a great supporter of the introduction of the Penny Post on 1840.  In 1843 he received large quantities of letters and was concerned that he would not be able to reply to them all, which would have been considered rude.

He wanted to find a quicker way of replying to his letters, and decided to use a card to write a short message.  He commissioned John Callott Horsley to paint a picture for the front of his card, which was in the style of a postcard and the size was 5 1/8 by 3 3/4 inches.

He commissioned one thousand cards, and the surplus cards were sold for one shilling, making them the first commercial Christmas Cards.

When did the format change to a book format?

People found that they wanted to write longer messages and didn’t have room on the postcard style.  In 1915 a Kansas Card Company, the Hall Brothers Company which later became Hallmark, designed the book style format we have today.  They were 4 by 6 inches and folded to fit in an envelope.

Why are robins featured on cards?

In the Victorian period postmen wore red waistcoats and were nicknamed “Robins” and this is why cards often show a robin delivering the post.

How many cards were sold in the UK?

In 1880 following the introduction of the Half Penny postage approximately 11.5 million cards were sent.

In 2017 one billion cards were sold in the UK, including 100 million single Christmas cards, and 900 million in boxes.

Charities estimate that £50 million is raised for good causes.

Thank you for reading.



Strawberry Office provides flexible, virtual, administrative support to small businesses, and support with lifestyle management.

If you are struggling to find the time to write your cards, Strawberry Office has a Christmas Card Writing Service, and more details can be found on the Strawberry Office website.