The History of Greetings Cards

Ancient Beginnings 

The custom of sending greeting cards has been traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of goodwill to celebrate the New Year and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls.

Handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe during the early 15th century with the Germans printing New Year's greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400 and it is known that paper Valentines were being exchanged here too

Industrial Revolution

By the 1850s, the greeting card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a popular and affordable means of personal communication, due largely to advances in printing, mechanisation, and a reduction in postal rates with the introduction of the postage stamp.

This was followed by new trends like Christmas cards, the first of which appeared in published form in London in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card that he could send to his friends and acquaintances.

In the 1860s, companies like Marcus Ward & Co, Goodall and Charles Bennett began the mass production of greeting cards. They employed well known artists such as Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane as illustrators and card designers. The extensive Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection from the Manchester Metropolitan University gathers 32,000 Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards and 450 Valentine's Day cards dating from the early nineteenth century, printed by the major publishers of the day.

Technical developments like color lithography in 1930 propelled the manufactured greeting card industry forward. Humorous greeting cards, known as studio cards, became popular in the late 1940s and 1950s.

In the 1970s, Recycled Paper Greetings, a small company needing to establish a competing identity against the large companies like Hallmark Cards, began publishing humorous, whimsical card designs with the artist's name credited on the back. This was away from what was known as the standard look (sometimes called the Hallmark look.)

By the 1980s, there was a thriving market for what were now called "alternative" greeting cards.


In the United Kingdom, it is currently estimated that the average person sends 55 cards per year.

Today the greetings card market is still thriving but costs have been driven down due to a number of reasons. First many people are now making their own cards in an increase in the crafts for leisure area. This is, of course,  much more personal. Secondly many shops are now selling a cross section of products so where you used to have a gift shop that only sold gifts they also now stock cards to go with that gift to make more sales via cross selling or up-selling. Finally there is a reduction in production costs in a lot of cases probably due to an increase in production.

There is also the digital market to contend with. The e-card is very popular as the card can be chosen, sent and received the same day and the cost can be free to an annual subscription that includes an unlimited number of cards that can be sent in the year.

Where we can help

Many people are just too busy to get organised with cards or might be looking for new and different options for sending greetings and Cookie Doodle Doo has just that.

Our Cookie Cards arrive in the post, straight through the letter box to provide a greeting for the special event being celebrated and are a treat to add to a cuppa.

You can also take out a cookie card subscription for 12 cards per year and pay for just 10. All you need to do is provide the names and addresses and celebrations and Cookie Doodle Doo will do the rest for you meaning that all your cards are sorted leaving you to get on with your day to day tasks. You need never miss a birthday or anniversary again.

If you think this will help you stay on top of upcoming celebrations and would like more information simply send us a message and we will send information over to you.