The first Christmas card — maybe

THE COMMERICAL Christmas card may have debuted on this date in 1842 when British engraver’s apprentice William Maw Egley Jr., sixteen, introduced a card with an illustration of a Christmas dinner, skaters, dancers, and poor people receiving gifts on the outside. Inside was the message, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

There is dispute about the date of Egley’s card, with some saying it appeared in 1848 or ’49. Those who dispute the 1842 date credit Henry Cole and illustrator John Callcott Horsley, who created a card in 1843, with originating the commercial Christmas card tradition.

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