A picture may paint a thousand words, but when combined with the right message makes the medium more potent. Research evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians on papyrus scrolls first sent glad tidings. The Chinese also were historically credited with such devices for exchanging greetings during New Year celebrations. By the 1400’s the German also started this habit but with the use of woodcuts while the rest of Europe used handmade paper.
As Christianization spread all throughout Europe, this practice soon became common for Christmas as well. By 1843, Sir Henry Cole hired an artist to design a holiday card to gift to his friends and relatives. At this point Greeting Cards were still hand painted and quite expensive to produce.
Popularity of these cards snowballed in the US states and established itself as a global gifting habit with the advancements in printing and the introduction of postage stamps all before 1850. Mass production began with the Valentine’s Greeting Card as popularized by the great women’s rights organizer Esther Howland in deference to the passing of her mother. She eventually sold off the rights to this technique of production and then concentrated on the age-old practice of elaborate, handmade cards.
By 1906, the Americans had already created a healthy business climate for the cards, as we know them today specially with the perfection of the color printing process, which drove down the costs of production dramatically.
Technology continues to change at a fast pace and continues to drive the purchase cost, types, and variety of these cards. Besides the standard, there are photo cards, music cards, postcards and electronic greeting cards.
All that being said, most gifts we purchase in the age of the Internet, are definitely not made by our own hands, the market economy dictates it. What we try to do now is match these gifts with the character traits, personalities or devotional level that we may have attached to the target recipients.
As much as we would to grant the best gifts, our personal economies limit us. Even if we really know what gift would match each person our list the final say still goes down to the budget we have to spare. Haven’t you received your fair share of contemptible gifts that you quickly disregard as well meaning? These items obviously purchased in bulk from super discount stores, which shipped them from some hidden factories hidden under an unnamed mountain in China?
So make your gifts distinct. Consider adding a greeting card in the equation? Its historical use as glad tidings explains intentions quite well. It draws empathy from the recipient since besides the printed message it also requires a signature and at most times a personal message from the sender.
Do not think about it as doing double the work in gift giving; think of it as twice increasing the value of the gift. For example, the Internet enables us to choose a gift an having it sent halfway across the world. Flowers are a favorite, its cost is minimal, small enough to be shipped efficiently, sturdy and stir the heartstrings of any receiver. Its symbolism goes back to Greek and Roman times and still rings true as one of the best presents that can be sent.
But most sites offer additional features to further personalize the purchase such as the ability make a message and having it printed on a greeting card to be sent with the magic dozen or too.
Greeting cards are gifts unto themselves but when joined with a present it will be a powerful instrument of spreading great joy for all seasons and all occasions.