Greeting Cards - From the Past to the Present
According to a dictionary, a greeting card is an illustrated and folded card featuring an expression of friendship and/or other sentiment. That description doesn't really show the thought or feeling behind giving or receiving a card. According to what I have found, the history of greeting cards goes back a long ways. The ancient Chinese exchanged messages of good will to celebrate their New Year and in early Egypt they sent greetings on papyrus scrolls. Papyrus scrolls were made from the Pith or the center of the Papyrus plant which use to be abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt. The Germans were known to have printed New Years greetings from woodcuts as early as the 1400. I haven't had the privilege of seeing even a picture of it, but there is a Valentine card made in the 1400's that is on display in a British Museum. The first Christmas Card was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843 where he had John Calcott Horsley paint a card for him centering around the feeding and clothing of the poor. Although he wasn't the first, Louis Prang is known as the Father of the American Christmas Card because prior to that we imported our greeting cards from England. Greeting cards were original fairly expensive because they were a handmade and hand delivered gift so they were mainly enjoyed and shared by the wealthy. By about the 1850's they became more affordable because of the advances in printing and postage rates were very reasonable.
There are a lot of reasons to send a greeting card, whether it's for a birthday, Christmas or any holiday, wishing a return to good health, saying Thank you, I miss you or simply I'm thinking of you are just a few. Today we are fortunate enough to have more than one type card available to us. One type is the standard greeting card which is a card that is printed on a good quality paper usually rectangular in shape, folded and has a message printed inside that is appropriate for the occasion. This card comes with a matching envelope unless your luck is like mine and the proper envelope seems to have been magically disappeared somehow. Another type is the Photo Greeting card. This is a card that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. Some of this type of card almost looks like a miniature picture frame where your photo slides right inside of it or it might be the type where the photos are on the face of the card. Another all time favorite card is the musical greeting card. This card will play music or sound when they are opened. Some of these cards will even let you record a short greeting or song. Luckily for my family and friends I haven't sent any cards that I recorded myself by singing a song for them. One of the newer type of cards and growing more popular all the time is the Electronic Greeting cards or E-cards as they are sometimes called. The animation that goes into some of the electronic greeting cards I have received is really impressive and almost like watching a mini-movie. With the expense of mailing a greeting card continually rising, I think this type of card is going to keep growing by leaps and bounds. Not only that, it gives me a few more hours to not "miss" someones birthday because it only takes a minute to create and send one.
With all of the different types of greeting cards that are available, it's hard to top the handmade greeting cards if you are looking for something really personal. There is a lot of care, attention and time that goes into creating a greeting card. What could be better than sending someone you care about a homemade card, especially if it is one the you made. I know that some of my all time favorite cards are ones that my son made for me when he was in grade school. There are a lot of patterns and ideas available on the internet so all you need is a little time to start searching and creating. I have seen cards created with scrap paper, macaroni, string and a little paint, so you don't need a fortune to get started.
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