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Project Britain

British Christmas Traditions
by Mandy Barrow

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Project Britain
A British Christmas
Online Advent Calendar
Advent Calendars
Boxing Day
Christmas - intro
Christmas Cards
Christmas Carols
Christmas Crackers
Christmas Day
Christmas Dinner
Christmas Eve
Christmas Facts
Christmas Jokes
Christmas Plant
Christmas Pudding
Christmas Tea
Christmas Trees
Xmas Decorations
Father Christmas
Meaning of Christmas
Mince Pies
Mummers Plays
Santa Claus
Stir Up Sunday
Teaching Resources
Twelfth Night
Twelfth Day
Twelve Days of Christmas
Yule Log

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Christmas Cards

Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England

People around the world send Christmas Cards to their friends and family.

image: Christmas cardsTraditionally, Christmas cards showed religious pictures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, or other parts of the Christmas story. Today, however, it is more common to see winter scenes, Father Christmas, cartoon characters or jokes.

In Britain, we have cards which are:

  • traditional e.g. pictures of the nativity scene;

  • formal e.g. a painted picture of a winter scene or Christmas Tree;

  • cute e.g. a snow scene with cute little animals or

  • funny e.g. Rudolf throwing snowballs at Father Christmas.

History of Christmas Cards

The first Christmas card was created and sent in 1843. A man named John Calcott Horsley printed the first Christmas card for Sir Henry Cole, the friend who had given him the idea.

Sir Henry Cole, a wealthy British businessman, wanted a card he could proudly send to friends and professional acquaintances to wish them a "Merry Christmas."

The card depicted a typical English family enjoying the holiday, and people performing acts of charity. An important part of Victorian Christmas spirit. A thousand copies of the card were printed and sold for one shilling. This is reportedly the first Christmas card to be produced and sold to the public.

Who sent the first ever Christmas card?

Sir Henry Cole sent the first ever Christmas card. John Calcott Horsely printed the first ever Christmas card. copyright of

Did you know?
The average person in Britain sends 50 Christmas cards each year.

Interesting Christmas Card Facts

santa In 1846 1000 cards, with the same design as the first Christmas cards, were sold to the public  at 1 shilling each  by  Felix Summerly's Treasure House in Bond street.

santa Postmen in Victorian England were popularly called "robins" because their uniforms were red.

santaVictorian Christmas cards often showed a robin delivering Christmas mail.

santaIn the nineteenth century, the British Post Office used to deliver cards on Christmas morning.

santaThe first Christmas stamp was released in Canada in 1898.

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from the children who live in there

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Facts and information about LondonBritish Royal FamilyVirtual Tour of the Thames

Special facts and information about each month of the yearInformation on Britain and the UK for Kids of all agesBritish History

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.