Here at Philo Hooke Publishing we celebrate our Heritage with Victorian and Vintage Christmas Cards. Partly because of the beauty and sentiment but also it brings us back to simpler more peaceful times. The sending of commercially printed Christmas cards originated in London,1843. People exchanged handwritten holiday greetings, first in person, then via post. By 1922, homemade Christmas cards had become the bane of the U.S. postal system. The first Christmas card designed for sale was by London artist John Calcott Horsley. A respected illustrator of the day, Horsley was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, who wanted a card he could proudly send to friends and acquaintances to wish them a Merry Christmas. Horsley produced a triptych. Each panels depicted a good deed; clothing the poor and feeding the hungry. The centerpiece featured a party of adults and children, with plentiful food and drink. The first Christmas cardŐs inscription read: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Merry was then a spiritual word meaning blessed, Of the original one thousand cards printed, twelve exist today. Printed cards became the rage in England; then Germany. It required an additional thirty years for American. In 1875, Boston lithographer Louis Prang, a native of Germany, began publishing cards, and earned the title "father of the American Christmas card." PrangŐs high-quality cards were costly, and they initially featured not such images as the Madonna and Child, a decorated tree, or even Santa Claus, but colored floral arrangements of roses, daisies, gardenias, geraniums, and apple blossoms. It was cheap penny Christmas postcards imported from Germany that remained in vogue until World War 1. Today more than two billion Cards are exchanged annually.