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World’s First Christmas Card Dated 1843 Put on Display at London's Charles Dickens Museum

The Christmas card on display was printed in 1843 - the same year as Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' was published.

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Updated:November 21, 2019, 6:38 PM IST
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World’s First Christmas Card Dated 1843 Put on Display at London's Charles Dickens Museum
Screenshot from video uploaded by SMU Video / YouTube.

With Christmas around the corner, festive feelings have already started to grip the world.

As December 25 nears, the yearly ritual of exchanging greeting cards and gifts has also begun.

And recently, the world's first printed Christmas card was recently put up on display at the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

According to a report by The Guardian, the card on display was printed in 1843 - the same year as Dickens' A Christmas Carol was published.

The card was designed by Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley.

The hand-coloured Christmas card shows a family congregated around a table enjoying a glass of wine. The message on the card reads, "A merry Christmas and a happy new year to you."

The report said that of the 1,000 Christmas cards originally printed, only 21 survived and the one sent to the Charles Dickens museum by a book dealer in San Francisco was originally sent by a son to his parents.

The centre of the card shows a medieval theme and the way Christmas was celebrated back in 1843.

On the left side of the card, it shows giving food to the hungry, the right side shows giving clothes to poor; Eric White, Curator of Special Collections SMU Bridwell Library told in a video.

According to a report by Jersey Evening Post, the printed cards back in those years were sold for one shilling each and they were initially not a success "in spite of its originality".

The idea or the trend of sending Christmas cards, however, began in 1877, when 4.5 million cards were posted to families. The trend continues to this day.

Curator of Dickens Museum, Louisa Price was quoted by the former report saying that 1843 was an important year for the development of modern Christmas.

"The Christmas card is such a big part of our Christmases today. And A Christmas Carol is such a significant story that we see every year at Christmas time," Louisa Price added.

The world's first printed Christmas card will be on display along with other items at an exhibition titled - The Beautiful Books: Dickens and the Business of Christmas.

The exhibition that kick-started on November 20 will be on till April 19, 2020.

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