The first holiday greeting cards were probably the "Christmas Pieces" made by students in the early 18th century. Students would take large sheets of writing paper, printed with engraved borders, and write messages to their parents expressing holiday greetings. A child might write a message such as "Love to Dearest Mummy at the Christmas Season" or "Holiday Wishes to Aunt Agatha and Uncle Fred." These samplers were designed to show their parents how well their handwriting had improved over the past year. By 1820 colour was added to the engraved borders, making the pieces much more decorative. The use of note paper with matching envelopes, both with decorative designs printed on them, was another early custom. The invention of the Christmas Card was a natural progression from these Christmas traditions and the customs associated with Calling cards, Reward of Merit cards, and Valentine cards.
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