The sending of Christmas cards and wishes dates back to 1843 in England when the public “Penny Post” system of rail-delivered mail allowed the mass sending of cheaply priced mail. The first card was produced by Sir Henry Cole and John Horsley. It was framed in three panels. The centre panel was a home table scene of children, parents and grandparents seated at a table raising a glass in a toast. The side panels depicted acts of Christmas charity. On the left was a scene of feeding the hungry and on the right was the scene of clothing the naked. Underneath the panels was written, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”
At first, the cards were exclusively religious in nature but over the years they branched out to become humorous and non-religious in sentiment, in addition to the still largely popular Christian cards. Cards were introduced in Canada in 1846 and became extremely popular in the 1920’s when advances in printing techniques flooded the markets with cheap, yet colourful cards. It was also during this time that the colour red became the colour most associated with Christmas.