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Latest Christmas Research from Royal Mail

The latest Christmas card research from Royal Mail shows that Christmas cards remain more popular than e-cards and texts. The research showed that an overwhelming 72 per cent of people who celebrate Christmas would prefer to receive cards this Christmas. Only six per cent would prefer a festive greeting via social media and 10 per cent via text.

This new research proves you just can’t beat the warm feeling of having a traditional Christmas card dropping through the letterbox during the festive season.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, just over a quarter (27 per cent) have written and posted/given out their Christmas cards two weeks before Christmas. Another 27 per cent had written and posted/given out their cards three weeks before the big day.

The research also discovered that more than half of those surveyed (64 percent) still had addresses and postcodes written down in an address book.
Stephen Agar, Managing Director, Consumer and Network Access, Royal Mail, said: “From the very first cards that we helped send back in 1843 to the millions of Christmas cards we handle each year, we are proud to have delivered season’s greetings across the UK for more than 170 years.

“With the Christmas countdown now underway, Royal Mail is reminding people to get their Christmas cards and gifts in the post before the latest recommended posting dates.”

Christmas Card Sales
The recently released Greeting Card Association (GCA) Market Report 2016 shows the value sales of single Christmas cards increased to £184 million in the UK with 105 million cards being sold singly. In addition, the GCA estimates the value of cards sold in boxes and packs at £200 million, with around 900 million cards sold in the UK. This puts total UK Christmas card sales at a value of £384 million and with a volume of 1.05 billion cards bought.
Sharon Little, Chief Executive of the Greeting Card Association, said: “As a nation we still like to celebrate Christmas in the traditional manner, by sending cards to each other. It’s when the Christmas cards start arriving that we start to feel that lovely festive feeling in the lead up to Christmas. Christmas is a time of caring, keeping in touch, keeping emotionally connected with friends and family, reaching out to spread goodwill. The Christmas cards we receive are tokens of our friendships, bringing the people we care about into the hearth and home at this special time of year.”

The History of the Christmas card
Across Europe, people have distributed wood prints with religious themes for Christmas since the Middle Ages. The custom of sending Christmas cards as we know them today started in Britain from 1840, when the first “Penny Post” public postal deliveries began,

The first Christmas card was commissioned in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole who had helped to introduce the Penny Post service three years earlier. It was designed by John Horsley. It was printed and then hand-coloured. 

Only 1,000 of these cards were printed and sold for a shilling each. At this price, the earliest Christmas cards were a luxury item and were not within the means of many people. One of the original 1,000 cards sent is also the most valuable in the world, according to Guinness World Records. The card, which was originally sent by Sir Henry Cole to his grandmother in 1843, was sold at an auction in Devizes, Wiltshire for £20,000 on 24 November 2001. Another example was sold in December 2005 for £8,500.

The orginal Henry Cole Christmas card.