A great way to catch up with - or even meet - your neighbours is to pop over and have a chat. As it’s nearly Christmas, on Day 9 of our Community Advent Calendar, we’re asking you to take over a Christmas card at the same time.

A long-standing tradition, Sir Henry Cole introduced the world’s first commercial Christmas card in the UK in 1843. Just 1000 were printed and sold for 1 shilling each (just 5p by today’s standards). 

The world's first commercial Christmas card.

The evolution of Christmas cards

The introduction of the railway (as opposed to horse and carriage) and improvements in printing methods meant that by 1860 Christmas cards were being produced in large numbers. In 1870, the cost of sending a Christmas card reduced to a halfpenny, meaning they were ever more accessible and by the 1900s this custom had spread all over Europe. In 2013, almost 900 million cards were bought in the UK alone!

Card designs have changed over time, ranging from traditional nativity scenes, robin redbreasts and snowy landscapes to more modern designs of Santa, snowmen and even a family portrait. It has also become custom to include a family update of the year that precedes. In the US, this has recently evolved into a rather impersonal family infographic such as the one below: 

Pop round, chat and deliver

If you’re buying some Christmas cards this year, why not save on postage and hand-deliver some to your neighbours? You can have a catch-up about the year that was in person and discuss your Christmas plans. You could even arrange a get-together over the festive period - there's nothing to lose and so much can be gained from having a neighbourly chat.

Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising assistant.