December 3, 2012

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole approached John Callcott Horsley with an idea, an idea that is still very popular today.  Cole’s idea was to develop a card that could be sent to family and friends to wish them well during the holiday season.

Horsley designed the first Christmas card, showing a family enjoying a meal together, carrying the simple message of “Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year To You”.  The initial print run was for 1000 cards which were lithographed and hand coloured by a professional colourer.

In total, 2050 cards were produced with this image and started a tradition that continues to be popular today.

The Oshawa Community Archives collection has some wonderful example of early Christmas cards, and we’ve shared some below!










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