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Traditional Christmas cards still popular

Posted On December 5, 2006

Filed under News Americas, Offbeat News

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Figures reported by Washington’s Greeting Card Association indicate it’s too early to sound the death knell for traditional Christmas cards.

Not long ago Internet pundits predicted electronic greeting cards would put paper ones out to pasture but that hasn’t proved to be the case.

The Greeting Card Association says the novelty of e-cards is waning with only one e-card sent for every 20 traditional ones.

Hallmark Cards Inc. reports a decline in the number of free e-cards sent from its site while the number of paper cards purchased has remained stable at 1.9 billion for the past five years.

‘Try putting an e-card on your mantel. Try pulling it out a year from now,’ Sue Lindstrom, founder of a chain of specialty paper and stationary stores based in Chicago, said.

The origin of Christmas Cards

Posted On December 2, 2006

Filed under Christmas Cards

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Christmas Cards originally started as letters sent from school children to their families around the holidays.

Christmas Cards as we know them today began to be seen after the invention of the steam press in the 1840s.

The first cards printed in England specifically for use at Christmas were designed by John Horsley in 1843 and were sold at Felix Summerly’s Home Treasury Office. They featured the greeting, “A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You”.

The first signs of people mailing cards to each other in the United States occurred around 1845. Until 1875 Americans had to import their Christmas Cards from Europe, but in 1875 that changed when a German immigrant by the name of Louis Prang published the first line of U.S. Christmas Cards.

Sources for the History of Christmas Cards >

UPDATE > The custom of sending Christmas cards started in Victorian England. Earlier, some adults had written Christmas letters. But letters took time to write, and people wanting to share Season’s Greetings with many others had a daunting task.

In 1843, British businessman Sir Henry Cole asked artist John Calcott Horsley to print some Christmas cards. One thousand cards were printed in black and white and then colored by hand. The cards, which depicted a happy family raising a toast to the recipient, were criticized for promoting drunkenness. In 1851 Richard Pease, a variety store owner, commissioned the first printed Christmas card in the U.S.

London printers Charles Goodall & Sons became the first to mass-produce Christmas cards. In 1862 they created cards saying “A Merry Christmas.” Later, they designed cards with various designs, including robins, holly, mangers, snowmen, and even Little Red Riding Hood.

Hallmark’s ‘Christmas Card’ for the troops

For soldiers in any era or generation, one of the moments of greatest joy is when the mail arrives, particularly during the holiday season. Unfortunately, not every man and woman serving in the military has someone to send him or her cards, letters and care packages. Hallmark Channel would like to inspire viewers to do something about that.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, Hallmark premieres “The Christmas Card,” a tale, inspired by real-life situations, that looks at the unlikely romance between a soldier serving in Afghanistan and a woman from a small California mountain town, which all begins when he gets one of the Christmas cards she sent out en masse to the troops.

John Newton (“The Untouchables”) stars as Army Sgt. Cody Cullen, who can’t stop rereading the handmade card from Faith Spelman (Alice Evans), which includes photos of her picturesque hometown of Nevada City. When a sad errand for a fallen comrade takes him back to the states at Christmastime, Cody visits Nevada City and meets Faith. After performing a heroic act, he winds up practically adopted into the Spelman family and even takes a temporary job at the family lumber mill. Although Faith’s parents, Luke and Rosie (Ed Asner, Lois Nettleton), adore Cody – and Faith connects with him as well – there’s the pesky question of her wealthy but largely absent boyfriend, Paul (Ben Weber).

On Tuesday, Hallmark is screening the film at Fort Belvoir in Virginia at the invitation of the Department of Defense, which operates the Web site, that helps Americans connect with troops.

Also performing similar services are and Copies of the movie will also be provided to wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.

“The Christmas Card” is an old-fashioned heart-tugger, and that’s fine with Newton, who says, “I’ve probably only cried two times reading a script. . . . But when I got to the end, I was so caught up in the story – it sounds cliche, but I really was – I cried a little bit.”

Christmas Cards courtesy

Keep greetings secular and personal to avoid seasonal etiquette pitfalls

There are Christmas cards to send your mother, your son, your uncle overseas, your friends. You know all those will be appreciated. But sending a card to a business associate could blow up in your face.

The card sending season is full of potential etiquette pitfalls. What I hear from business associates is that they are trying to send out a goodwill gesture. The last thing a business is trying to do is to have that backfire on them. Perhaps that’s why more businesses are opting to send “religion-neutral” holiday cards.

Some etiquette experts, agree with taking a secular approach to holiday greetings. They also advise making a list and checking it twice, lest any important client be left off. But no matter how long that list is, you can’t take the easy way out and send an e-mail. Even if it makes it through the spam filters, an e-card is a poor substitute for the real thing.

With all the potential pitfalls, why do an estimated 50 percent to 60 percent of businesses even bother sending holiday greetings? Well, it’s all about strengthening the business relationship. The time and money spent are considered an investment in their business.

Here’s some tips from the experts >

* Keep it personal. Your card shouldn’t look as if it came off an assembly line. Sign the card by hand and include a short and professional note.

* Keep it simple. Keep messages brief and secular unless you are certain of the recipient’s religious faith.

* Separate home and work. If you are friends with a co-worker or associate, the card should go to the home, not office. Keep the wall between the two.

* Spell-check. Take the extra step to verify how recipients’ names are spelled.

* Show respect. When addressing the envelope, always use titles, such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., and so on.

* Lose the labels. Hand-address your envelopes.

* Stamp it. Mail holiday greeting cards first class so they don’t look like part of a mass mailing.

* Display the cards you receive. Displaying them is a really nice thing to do, and if the sender visits your office during the holiday, it makes him or her feel good, too.

* It’s never too late. While most people send business greetings between December 10 and 15, it is entirely appropriate to send a New Year’s greeting card.

12 Tips For Mailing Business Christmas Cards

• Business greeting cards should be formal, brief and tailored.

• Send cards early so your business stands out among others.

• Personally sign each card.

• Don’t send electronic greeting cards by e-mail.

• Mail cards first class to ensure they are delivered to a forwarding address or returned.

• Include a return mailing address so recipients can keep their mailing lists up to date.

• Use an office address when mailing to business associates. Use a home address for employees or if the recipient is a personal friend.

• Make sure names of people and companies are spelled correctly.

• If the recipient is a married woman who uses her maiden name, include both recipients’ full names.

• For married couples, the husband’s name appears first on the envelope.

• Always use titles, such as Mr., Mrs. and Dr., when addressing the envelope. For women, the standard title is Ms.

• Hand-address envelopes rather than using printed labels.

Source: Hallmark Business Expressions

March Sendoff for Christmas Card

Posted On November 13, 2006

Filed under News Europe, Offbeat News

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In 1843 the British civil servant, industrial designer and Museum Director Henry Cole decided to save himself the trouble of hand-writing dozens of Christmas greetings by commissioning a card from his friend John C. Horsley, a well-known artist who had painted portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

According to the Bonhams auction house, a thousand cards of this design, showing a family at their Christmas dinner and carrying the words “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You” were printed and sold. The price was a shilling, then the equivalent of an average weekly wage.

About 20 of the cards, few in private hands, are thought to have survived. On March 20 a proof of the first Christmas card, inherited from a man who married one of Mr. Cole’s granddaughters, is to be sold at Bonhams in London. It carries an estimate of $7,600 to $11,400.

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