Most people today believe that the Chinese were the first to invent what might be called the greeting card. These cards was used to exchange goodwill tidings on the New Year. The ancient Egyptians also exchanged written greetings on papyrus scrolls.
However, these early greeting cards were generally not accessible to the common people. This is because of their low education level. In fact, most people could not even read or write. And the handmade cards were too expensive to send.
In the early or mid 1400s Europeans exchanged handmade paper greetings for Valentine’s Day. The British Museum contains a Valentine from the 1400s that is the oldest known greeting card to date. An increased popularity of the greeting card also came with the introduction of the postage stamp in 1840. What was once a fairly expensive gift now became affordable. John Calcott Horsley was commissioned in 1843 to design the first published Christmas card.
Of course, with improved printing methods also came a marked increase in the greeting card industry. The person generally credited with the beginning of America’s greeting card industry is Louis Prang, a German immigrant who started a lithography business near Boston in 1856.
Making Your Own Cards
This is easier than you may at first think. All you need is a sheet of plain paper or a thin card, a writing instrument, and, of course, a message. With a design of your choice, you can add the personal touch. How? Here are two suggestions.
(1) Choose a picture you like. It may be a scene from a magazine that you can cut out and attach to your card. One wife surprised her husband with a novel card to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. She cut out two small photographs of her husband and herself and stuck these on a simple card to convey an expression of her happiness for their shared life.
(2) Use flowers. They are already well designed. After pressing and drying them, attach them to your card to add pleasure and taste.
Whatever the decoration you choose, surely it is the message that is most valuable. Making your own cards gives you the opportunity to compose words that truly express your sentiments.