Today, greeting cards are an ordinary thing that we associate with birthdays and holidays. A search for “greeting cards near me” will turn up plenty of shops where you can buy them—including Casual Cat! But how much do you know about how these cards first started? Probably not much, it’s not something that comes up very often. Greeting cards have actually been around for thousands of years and changed a lot before they resembled what we have today.
Let’s take a look at the origins and history of greeting cards.
The Earliest Greeting Cards
The earliest greeting cards weren’t cards at all. In ancient Egypt, people would send messages written on papyrus scrolls. In China, their tradition looked more like what we do today. They would write messages of goodwill to each other to celebrate the New Year. They wrote on shells, wood, silk, and eventually paper. After those ancient civilizations, the next records we have of people exchanging cards are from the 1400s in Europe. The oldest existing Valentine’s card was written by a French duke imprisoned by the English during the Hundred Years’ War.
Cards in the Renaissance
During the Renaissance, art and literature exploded across Europe. People regularly sent cards for Valentine’s Day and Christmas, and by the 1700s New Year’s cards became popular, too. The cards of this time were incredibly elaborate and handmade by the sender specifically for the recipient. Because cards were expensive and time-consuming to make, this practice was not common among average people. But that would change with the printing press and the postal service.
Rise of the Christmas Card
Holiday cards really took off in the 1800s. Advances in printing technology had already made it easier and cheaper to produce cards, and then the introduction of a widespread postal service made it easy to send them. We can accurately date the spike in the popularity of Christmas cards for two reasons. In 1843, two important Christmas-y things happened. Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol, and Sir Henry Cole and his friend John Callcott Horsely made the first mass-produced Christmas card. Together, those two events made 1843 the year Christmas changed forever.
Get “Greeting Cards Near Me” at Casual Cat!
These days, there are greeting cards for every occasion and in every style and tone imaginable. There are entire companies dedicated to making humorous cards, for example, while many others produce a wide variety. At Casual Cat, you’ll find a great selection of “greeting cards near me” to go with our thoughtful handmade gifts.