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CHRISTMAS CARD CUSTOM BEGAN IN DICKENS-ERA ENGLAND

SHARE CHRISTMAS CARD CUSTOM BEGAN IN DICKENS-ERA ENGLAND

In 1843, the year "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens first appeared in England, the custom of sending printed Christmas cards was born.

Henry Cole, a London businessman, mailed out 1,000 cards designed by his artist friend John C. Horsley. The message read "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You."According to Hallmark Cards, this same message will be one of the favorite sentiments to appear on the more than 2.2 billion cards expected to be mailed by Americans this years.

Other Christmas card notes:

-The average American household receives 26 Christmas cards, according to Ann Canfield, spokeswoman for Hallmark Cards.

-Towns with a truly festive postmark include: Mistletoe, Ky.; Ebenezer, Miss.; Silver Bell, Wis.; Rudolph, Wis., and Holly, Colo.

-What do Groucho Marx, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Henry Fonda and Winston Churchill have in common? They all have drawn original artwork reproduced on Hallmark Christmas cards. (Associated Press, Scripps Howard News Service)