Today there are millions and billions of greeting cards that are being exchanged all over the world for many different reasons. The history of greeting cards can be traced back to early Egypt and China. Ancient Egyptians and the Chinese were considered to have the practice of exchanging good will messages, especially at the start of a new year to waive off evil spirits and to receive prosperity and goodness. However they hardly resemble the type of greeting cards that are being exchanged today. Later in the 15th century the first valentines’ greeting card was discovered in Europe and the habit of card making came into use in Europe.
With the establishment of the penny post service and the development of paper manufacturing and printing, production of greeting cards became very popular and a separate industry of greeting cards emerged. Today people exchange cards for heaps of reasons for personalized lunch boxes. Among them birthday greetings, Christmas wishes, anniversary wishes, New Year wishes takes a special place. Apart from them cards are exchanged to show emotions and feelings such as love, gratitude, regret and sympathy towards our loved ones. Invitations also form a great part of the cards that are being exchanged among people today. Kids birthday invitations, wedding invitations, anniversary invitations and so on.
Sir Henry Cole invented the first commercial greeting card for Christmas in 1843. It was in that very same year that the popular novel “A Christmas carol” of the famous author Charles Dickens was first published which coincidentally helped boost the demand for the Christmas cards and the greeting cards production became an industry in the UK. With time, the greeting cards industry has evolved and today, the most commonly used type of greeting cards are the e-cards that are exchanged over e-mails and the internet. Most of the greetings and invitations are sent electronically at present, from kids birthday invitations to a Christmas wish. The reason for the use of e-cards could be the increasing concerns towards environmental matters and the move towards the digital technology. It is cheap, faster and eco-friendly compared to traditional greeting cards.
Large amounts of money are spent on greeting cards every year. In the UK, nearly one billion pounds are spent on greeting cards each year; that is on average 55 cards are mailed by each person. On the other hand in the US, greeting cards amount to over $7billion in yearly retail sales. Hallmark publishes greeting cards in 30 different languages and makes them available for sale in nearly 100 different countries. However in my point of view, however much we spend, the true blessing of a card rests in the heart of the sender.