Holiday cards are often cherished for the simplest reasons—a tiny handprint from a grandchild, a photo from a friend living abroad or just a welcome bit of merriment.
In 1843, when British civil servant Sir Henry Cole came up with the idea, he had a more utilitarian purpose in mind. He called on his friend John Horsley to design a three-paneled card with humanitarian themes: images of people caring for the poor, familial scenes where love abounds. If you’re lucky enough to have inherited one of those original cards, they’d be worth several thousand dollars today, versus their original one shilling price tag.
Clearly, the significance of a holiday card can range broadly, from a sentimental icon to a post-New Year’s