Psrc annual holiday card contest
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PSRC Annual Holiday Card Contest. Open to All Students K-12. History of Holiday Cards. The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843 and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley.

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PSRC Annual Holiday Card Contest

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Psrc annual holiday card contest

PSRC Annual Holiday Card Contest

Open to All Students K-12

History of holiday cards

History of Holiday Cards

  • The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843 and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley.

  • The picture, of a family with a small child drinking wine together, proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier.

  • Two batches totaling 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.

Psrc annual holiday card contest

The world's first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole

Psrc annual holiday card contest

  • In 1843 John Horsley was commissioned to create a Christmas card for Sir Henry Cole (the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum) because he did not have the time to write all of his friends as he had done in previous years.

  • The cards were created on lithographs and hand-colored. The first card was supposed to have depicted poor people being fed and clothed but instead Horsley created a family party in progress showing a child sipping wine. The original intent was to remind Sir Henry’s friends of the great needs for the persons in poverty during this season. Instead it caused an uproar for “fostering the moral corruption of children”.

  • It is said that Sir Henry did not send out any cards following that year but Christmas cards were already on their way. The first year 1000 cards went on sale in London for one shilling each.

Environmental impact and recycling

Environmental impact and recycling

  • During the first 70 years of the 19th century it was common for Christmas and other greeting cards to be recycled by women's service organizations who collected them and removed the pictures, to be pasted into scrap books for the entertainment of children in hospitals, orphanages, kindergartens and missions. With children's picture books becoming cheaper and more readily available, this form of scrap-booking has almost disappeared.

Environmental concerns

Environmental Concerns

  • Recent concern over the environmental impact of printing, mailing and delivering cards has fueled an increase in e-cards

  • The U.K. conservation charity Woodland Trust runs an annual campaign to collect and recycle Christmas cards to raise awareness of recycling and collect donations from corporate sponsors and supporters.

Psrc annual holiday card contest

  • All recycled cards help raise money to plant more trees. In the 12 years that the Woodland Trust Christmas Card Recycling Scheme has been running, more than 600 million cards have been recycled. This has enabled the Woodland Trust to plant more than 141,000 trees, save over 12,000 tonnes of paper from landfill and stop over 16,000 tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere – the equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road for a year

Psrc annual holiday card contest

  • Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials.

  • In 1875 Louis Prang became the first printer to offer cards in America, though the popularity of his cards led to cheap imitations that eventually drove him from the market.

  • The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.

Psrc annual holiday card contest

  • The production of Christmas cards was, throughout the 20th century, a profitable business for many stationery manufacturers, with the design of cards continually evolving with changing tastes and printing techniques.

  • The World Wars brought cards with patriotic themes. Idiosyncratic "studio cards" with cartoon illustrations and sometimes risque humor caught on in the 1950s.

  • Nostalgic, sentimental, and religious images have continued in popularity, and, in the 21st century, reproductions of Victorian and Edwardian cards are easy to obtain.

  • Modern Christmas cards can be bought individually but are also sold in packs of the same or varied designs.

  • In recent decades changes in technology may be responsible for the decline of the Christmas card.

  • The estimated number of cards received by American households dropped from 29 in 1987 to 20 in 2004.

  • Email and telephones allow for more frequent contact and are easier for generations raised without handwritten letters - especially given the availability of websites offering free email Christmas cards. Despite the decline, 1.9 billion cards were sent in the U.S. in 2005 alone. Some card manufacturers, such as Hallmark, now provide E-cards.

Official christmas cards

Official Christmas cards

  • "Official" Christmas cards began with Queen Victoria in the 1840s.

  • The British royal family's cards are generally portraits reflecting significant personal events of the year.

  • In 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first official White House card.

  • The cards usually depict White House scenes as rendered by prominent American artists.

  • The number of recipients has snowballed over the decades, from just 2,000 in 1961 to 1.4 million in 2005.

President johnson s 1967 white house christmas card

President Johnson's 1967 White House Christmas card

Commercial christmas cards

Commercial Christmas cards

  • Many businesses, from small local businesses to multi-national enterprises send Christmas cards to the people on their customer lists, as a way to develop general goodwill, retain brand awareness and reinforce social networks. These cards are almost always discrete and secular in design, and do not attempt to sell a product, limiting themselves to mentioning the name of the business. The practice harkens back to trade cards of the 18th century, an ancestor of the modern Christmas card.

Trade christmas card promoting royal typewriters

Trade Christmas card promoting Royal typewriters

Charity christmas cards

Charity Christmas cards

  • Many organizations produce special Christmas cards as a fundraising tool.

  • The most famous of these enterprises is probably the UNICEF Christmas card program, launched in 1949, which selects artwork from internationally known artists for card reproduction.

  • The UK-based Charities Advisory Trust gives out an annual "Scrooge Award" to the cards that return the smallest percentage to the charities they claim to support

Psrc annual holiday card contest

The picture chosen was painted by a seven-year-old girl, Jitka Samkova of Rudolfo, a small town in the former Czechoslovakia. The town received UNICEF assistance after World War II, inspiring Jitka to paint children dancing around a maypole, representing "joy going round and round."

Home made cards

Home-made cards

  • Since the 19th century, many families and individuals have chosen to make their own Christmas cards, either in response to monetary necessity, as an artistic endeavour, or in order to avoid the commercialism associated with Christmas cards.

  • With a higher preference of handmade gifts during the 19th century over purchased or commercial items, homemade cards carried high sentimental value as gifts alone.

  • Many families make the creation of Christmas cards a family endeavour and part of the seasonal festivity, along with stirring the Christmas cake and decorating the tree.

  • Over the years such cards have been produced in every type of paint and crayon, in collage and in simple printing techniques.

  • A revival of interest in paper crafts, particularly scrapbooking, has raised the status of the homemade card and made available an array of tools for stamping, punching and cutting.

Silk cord and tassels circa 1860

Silk cord and tassels, circa 1860

Advances in technology

Advances in Technology

  • Advances in digital photography and printing have provided the technology for many people to design and print their own cards, using their original graphic designs or photos, or those available with many computer programs or online as clip art, as well as a great range of typefaces. Such homemade cards include personal touches such as family photos and holidays snapshots.

Christmas card made on a pc with a basic drawing program

Christmas card made on a PC with a basic drawing program.

Collectors items

Collectors items

  • From the beginning, Christmas cards have been avidly collected.

  • Queen Mary amassed a large collection that is now housed in the British Museum.

  • The University College of London's Slade School of Fine Art houses a collection of handmade Christmas Cards from alumni such as Paula Rego and Richard Hamilton and are displayed at events over the Christmas season, when members of the public can make their own Christmas cards in the Strang Print Room.[9]

  • Specimens from the "golden age" of printing (1840s–1890s) are especially prized and bring in large sums at auctions. In December 2005, one of Horsley's original cards sold for nearly £9,000.

  • Collectors may focus on particular images like Santa Claus, poets, or printing techniques.

  • The Christmas card that holds the world record as the most expensive ever sold was a card produced in 1843 by J. C. Horsley and commissioned by civil servant Sir Henry Cole. The card, one of the world's first, was sold in 2001 by UK auctioneers Henry Aldridge to an anonymous bidder for a record breaking £22,250.

Sir henry cole designed by j c horsley 1843

Sir Henry Cole ; designed by J.C. Horsley 1843

Victorian circa 1870

Victorian, circa 1870

Victorian 1885

Victorian, 1885

Postcard circa 1900

Postcard, circa 1900

American card circa 1920

American card, circa 1920

War related circa 1943

War-related, circa 1943

Rust craft circa 1950

Rust Craft, circa 1950

Designs specifications for cover art

Designs Specifications for cover art:

  • Design completed on 9x12 paper (DO NOT FOLD into a card)

  • Designs should be Non-Religious

  • Design should include some type of greeting like “Season’s Greetings” “Happy Holidays”

    • Pencil drawing should have a strong contrast of black/white/gray

    • Use permanent color mediums-NO unfixed pastels

    • Use Pencil, Marker, or colored pencil

Psrc annual holiday card contest


  • Think about how Holiday looks

  • If you would like to use an old card to be inspired by you may

  • Design should be complex and extremely neat

  • Student’s name, grade, school, & art teacher name PRINTED on back

  • No charcoal, glitter, oil pastels, or soft pastels can be used

Design due

Design Due

  • Thursday, October 27, 2010

  • NO Late work will be accepted

  • This will go on first 9 weeks grades

  • As we make our cards, it really is amazing to think of the first cards and their significance to our history. And to think it was all just to save a little time.

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