Christmas Card Etiquette

December 21, 2005 – Posted 5:42 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The custom of sending Christmas Cards started in Victorian, England in 1843, but the first cards were not sent in the U.S. until 1851. It's a tradition many families carry on from year to year...but is there a proper etiquette... and just what is it?

“My parents have always sent out Christmas cards, and my mom does a Christmas letter. Now that I live out on my own, I just wanted to do it with my dog. It's kind of my family away from my family,” said Megan Lawson as she scanned in her holiday cards at the Parker Road Wal-Mart.
That's why Lawson's friends and family will be receiving holiday greetings this year, not only from her, but her dog Miescha too.
“I think my dog is really cute and I just want everyone to see how cute she is,” laughed Lawson.
And with only a few taps on a computer screen, those Christmas memories are immortalized.
“We've been super busy, off the charts, it's been really packed every day,” said Pam Cox as she worked the Wal-Mart Photo Center.

But when spreading the cheer there are a few things to keep in mind. First, holiday letters are fun to read, but don't make it a novel....keep it short and simple, one typewritten page should be enough. Also, use an easy to read font in at least 12-point type. Second, hand written address gives your card a personal touch. It’s ok to use pre-printed return address labels, but printing off your mailing list onto labels reeks of a mass mailing. Photo cards seem to be growing more popular....and whether it's you on vacation, a recent wedding photo or the family gathered's always a nice way to keep in contact.

The first cards sent in England were designed by artist John Calcott Horsley. He printed 1,000 cards in black and white and then colored by hand a picture of a happy family raising a toast to the recipient. But religious leaders criticized the cards, saying they promoted drunkenness.