The tradition of sending cards started in England (UK). People used to exchange letters at Christmas and tradesmen would call bearing business cards with a view to later collecting the ‘Christmas Box’ (See Mystical WWW Christmas Box).
The first Christmas card to be specifically designed and sent is believed to have been by WCT Dobson, RA, in 1844. The first commercially produced card in small numbers was attempted by writer and art critic Sir Henry Cole, and JC Horsley in 1846. This card caused quite a bit of controversy at the time. The card depicted a jovial family group enjoying the festive activities with a glass of wine. Temperance followers believed that the scene Despite such early responses large scale production of Christmas cards really started in 1870 by Tucks art printers. The introduction of colour and embossed printing techniques meant that the cards became extremely elaborate, which was seen as a sign of the printers skill and also the wealth of the owner.
In Southern Europe cards were also sent at New Year. Today most cards include greetings for both Christmas and New Year.