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History of the Greeting Card

Updated on June 2, 2018
Sunshine625 profile image

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.


Long Live the Greeting Card

Has the greeting card become extinct because of the internet? The web makes everything easier for us. Well, it does for me. The internet serves so many useful purposes, but then it also has a tendency to allow for less personal contact. This could only happen if we allow it to.

The greeting card, at one time, was a delightful surprise that we found in our mailbox tucked in between the many bills. Has the greeting card become a novelty of the past? Say it isn't so!

We could now easily send an ecard electronically for free! But is the ecard as thoughtful as receiving a card? I do not think so. While at any time some one else is thinking of us and takes the time to send a card, whichever way, we do appreciate the gesture.

Now, making the effort to take a few minutes out of your day to physically select a card, sign it, place a stamp on it and have the mail carrier deliver it is much more thoughtful. This means that you took the time out of your busy schedule to make a heartwarming effort so that your recipient could feel even more loved.

Believe it or not greeting cards are still in vogue! I do not think they have become prehistoric like the dinosaurs. Heck, there are even cards to give to your pets and they can't even read...or can they? There are cards that play music, over and over and over again. The cards that you could add your own voice to are neat gifts as long as you do not have a high voice that tends to screech. I haven't sent a voice card to anyone yet. Probably never will.

There doesn't have to be a specific holiday to send a card...just send a card because you are thinking of that special someone.

Burst of Sunshine
Burst of Sunshine | Source

When is the last time you mailed a greeting card?

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Greeting Card History

Greeting cards began among the ancient Chinese. They shared greetings with others to celebrate the new year.

The early Egyptians also spread their celebratory message via a papyrus scroll. In the early 15th century handmade cards began to be exchanged in Europe.

In 1400, Germany created cards made of woodcuts.

By the mid-15th century Europeans were spreading the love with handmade valentine cards.

By the 1850's the greeting card had gained popularity. The postage stamp was also introduced which benefited the sender as postage rates became cheaper. It was about this time that the Christmas card exchange began to flourish and this tradition continues today.

Except as many of you may have noticed, the exchanging of holiday cards is beginning to dwindle. Some of you might be disappointed in this fact. Some of you might be relieved. Due to social media making it easier to wish your friends and family a Merry Christmas, many folks do not bother to send a card.

Once is the thought that counts.

More than $7 billion is spent each year in the US on greeting cards so obviously some people still enjoy exchanging cards. Count me in!

Note cards / Greeting cards
Note cards / Greeting cards | Source

Sunshine's History of Greeting Cards

I began to give cards to family and friends when I was a youngen. I enjoyed witnessing the expression on my recipients faces as I gave them their handmade card. I eventually graduated to store bought cards, there is only so long that you can get away with giving homemade cards as gifts, then again they continue to be my favorite cards that I receive from my family and friends.

Due to my love of receiving and giving greeting cards I began to design my own cards. I capture the photos that inspire me to create the card. I use my imagination to implement the finishing touches on the perfect card that I would want to give or that my customers would want to purchase and give to their loved ones.

I prefer note cards instead of cards that specify the occasion. I like to write my own message inside the card which is geared to the specific recipient. Store bought greeting cards have some awesome messages, I could stand at the card section for quite a while, reading cards and laughing, or sighing depending on which section I am browsing.

Cards have so much meaning to them, they are a gift that requires such little of our time and could last a lifetime. I have cards that I was given years ago, just a handful, I am not a pack rat.

Which cards do you prefer?

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Other Uses For Greeting Cards

While greeting cards are great to give, there are also a few non-traditional uses for greeting cards...such as:

  • Place cards in a frame to display on walls. You could change your decor as often as you like for no cost to you!
  • Cards could also be used as a place mat. Place multiple cards together on a piece of thin cardboard. Use laminating film to give your placemat a finish look and also make them easy to clean and also waterproof.
  • Children could use them to make a collage for holidays or special occasions.
  • If the back side of the greeting card is blank, you could use it as a postcard, be sure and use correct postage if you intend to mail it. You could also use the front of the card as a gift tag.
  • You could create bookmarks. Cut up cards as you see fit. Using a hole puncher, punch a hole out on top and insert a piece of ribbon.
  • Donate the appropriate cards to schools for cut and paste activities and for letter hunts.
  • Use cards for scrapbooking.
  • Create a flipbook. Remove the backside of the card, keep the front/photo side. When you have enough cards to create the flipbook, once again, using a hole puncher, punch holes and then use string to tightly secure the cards together. When those steps are complete flip through the cards quickly to use your flipbook. This idea is from my 9 year old granddaughter, Faith.

Do you have any ideas on how to recycle cards? If so, please share your ideas below in the comment section.

How to Create Greeting Cards

Will you start sending more greeting cards now?

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It's the little things that matter...


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    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      ecards are taking over greeting cards now

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Though I don't think they are out of vogue I was surprised by the 7 billion figure spent on greeting cards! One friend (notably one) is so faithful with handwritten notes, but I am one of those who for the most part have succumbed to the use of technology. I do make cards for my grandchildren and they are getting old enough to understand and have some appreciation for the effort. Using parts of old greeting cards in the designs of new ones is fun stuff. Maybe I should take the time to send a few more snail mail cards soon… :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Hi Linda! Great hub. I totally agree that cards are much more personal. I posted one just yesterday, to my cousin who is 60 tomorrow, even though he's in denial. I like the basic message inside but I always add a little to that and sometimes a message on the opposite flap if it's relevant.

      My grandchildren have always made their own cards; they love writing and they are always to proud to hand them over. The card tradition is live and kicking in our family!

      I have a few friends who say they are saving the planet by sending e-cards. I see their point and there are some beautiful ones; I've sent a few but not to my most nearest and dearest. I think the personal touch outweighs all the other arguments so I will continue to write and send my own, be they bought or made.


    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub, enjoyed the read. I love to go shopping for greeting cards, but nowadays everything is by e-card. When I was young, I had a huge collection of greeting cards but with all the shifting I lost the entire bunch.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi y'all ... Thank you for stopping by with your greetings! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      7 billion each year on greeting cards? I would have thought they number to be lower with all the ecards available. Count me in too on giving and receiving the paper versions. I think they mean so much when a person has taken time to write and send. Your suggestions for recyle are great. I remember binding cards together for my reading area as a preschool teacher. Enjoy your weekend!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for this interesting research, Linda. I love picking out cards and adding my own special message.

      Just wonderin' - do you suppose those early Egyptians wrote their cards in hieroglyphics? ;)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Nice hub, Linda. I especially like looking back at old ones from my childhood and earlier eras. Very quaint.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you, Sha!! :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent and interesting hub!

      I still love sending and receiving greeting cards. And I have a huge collection of the greeting cards as I have preserved them from yesteryears. Its nostalgic to go through them--sent by my dear family members and friends.

      The history is very interesting. I had no idea it dated back to ancient civilizations.

      Thank you for sharing!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub, Linda!

      I love greeting cards and always will. Yes, our dear friend, Maria, up there is known for her sending out of lovely cards and packages ...the little things truly matter.

      Some people just have a knack for choosing the perfect card for every occasion or no occasion. They really give it a lot of thought, which makes them so special and their cards too.


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I almost forgot - Congratulations on your Most Cheerful Hubber Hubbie Award!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hey Y'all...Thank you for stopping by my car wash and sharing your thoughts!

      Yes, Sha, I am very familiar with MM! As is my postal carrier! :)

      Always a pleasure to send cards to those you care about! Got that, Effer! :)

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Carson City

      Hey Sha!! I know that "friend!" You're right. She AND Linda Sue are the Champions of Cards!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      I still send cards for birthdays and holidays. They're more personal and can be saved, unlike ecards.

      You and I have a mutual friend (can you say Maria Jordan?) who is the queen of making someone's day by sending a card for no particular reason other than to let you know she's thinking of you. In fact, I've been the delighted recipient of several of your designs, Linda. Bet you didn't know that!

      Greeting cards will never become outdated as far as I'm concerned. You're so right about the joy it brings to have a thoughtful card show up in the snail mailbox. They're little packages of smiles and love.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      I love these greeting cards always. I send or gift cards on special occasions to my relatives and friends nearby. It is a kind of hobby and as somebody commented above these cards can be good collectibles also.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I love to send and receive cards, especially at Christmas, which is the only time I hear from some friends and catch up with what they have been doing. The only problem is that I have piles of cards, beautiful and with happy memories, that I can't bear to throw away. I certainly couldn't put them in a frame on the wall, but I could probably paper the walls with them! An interesting article.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      My daughter-in-law and one of my two daughters have taught their children how to make their own "love messages" which convey their wishes without even needing a special occasion. Many go to our "Family Heirlooms File" box.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      Interesting history. I love that you included a section on things to do with old greeting cards. I save all of the Christmas cards I receive and use them in Christmas craft projects the next year.

    • stampinwithfab profile image

      Fabrizio Martellucci 

      6 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Fun hub, let's thank the United Kingdom where the 'madness' of exchanging cards really started during Victorian times and even today, has the highest percentage 'like for like' of greeting cards being exchanged for any reasons.......and I mean for really anything ! lol ;)

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Carson City

      Well of course there were greeting cards in ancient civilization! Even the stone age. How do you suppose Fred Flintstone gave Wilma an Anniversary card?? He hammered those babies out on slate!

      Sunshine...I love your hub. You're really going to town, baby. Making up for lost time. I see YOUR beautiful floral photo greeting cards. In fact, thanks to you, I HAVE some!!....Love you, Effer

    • WillStarr profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Guys buy them four times a year...for her birthday, for Mothers Day, for Valentines day, and and I can't remember the fourth one.

      Oh yeah! For her anniversary.

      I mean 'our' anniversary.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The history is pretty cool. I had no idea it dated back to ancient civilizations. Very interesting, Linda!

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I still send out greeting cards specially on Christmas and those across the miles messages all around the world where my friends and family are. And, that excitements receiving one is something I still look forward to.

      I remember when I was in grade school, I used to save my allowance so I could hang out in the nearest Hallmark store and scan and buy cards and other novelty stuff like scented stationery. Well, this hub took me back in time. Thank you.

      Love from the sky~

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for your history on the greeting cards, I would like to share a thought as well , I came across a scrapbook full of greeting cards some had very old stamps, some had different class stamps , the family traveled many places out and in US, the album belong to a senoir in her 90's her home and memories

      Still in her rented home.

      Later I learned that cards are just as collectible as stamps . So you never know

      The degrees of treasures, sometime it could be in paper.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      You are preaching to the choir, Sunshine.

      I happen to love your cards on Fine Arts ...some of the most gorgeous photography around.

      And blank inside is my I tend to be longwinded... :)

      Love this and you too, MM

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      So glad to see this and to know that I am not the ONLY one who still sends cards. I do have a bluemountain account and love the cards there (I have an annual membership) but I still select cards for certain special occasions.

      Hoping all is good with you....Angels are on the way ps


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