Excitement builds as we approach the holidays and preparations get underway. Family holiday cards are a longstanding Christmas tradition, and to many, an integral part of the lead-up to the holiday season. Each year, over 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the US alone.
The very first Christmas card was commissioned by a UK government worker, Sir Henry Cole, in 1843 when he was too busy to write to his friends himself. Printed in black and white, they were originally colored by hand.
Only a handful of the 1,000 originally printed were sold, probably because of their prohibitively expensive price of one shilling.
It was only many years later that the tradition caught on. Sending cards became even more popular in Victorian times (1870s) when the cost of mailing Christmas cards dropped to a half-penny.
In the US, the first Christmas cards were produced in the late 1840s, but were too expensive for most people. They became more affordable in 1875, when a German printer began mass-producing them. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest sellers of Christmas cards today!
Here at MyHeritage, we're searching for your oldest family Christmas card. What's the oldest Christmas card that you have in your family? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, we wrote about many Christmas traditions still common today, and the history behind them.
This year, as the holidays approach, we had our researchers look into interesting Christmas facts we never knew, and we're sure you didn't, either!
Check them out:
- If you received all the gifts from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would have 364 presents, and according to a group that prices the gifts each year, the total price tag would be $116,273.
This Christmas marks 100 years since the famous Christmas truce of WWI, in 1914.
During a stormy winter of fighting between the two sides, a widespread but unofficial truce emerged in the week leading up to - and on - the holiday. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and to sing songs between their trenches. There were even occasions where soldiers walked over to opposing sides to talk to their counterparts and exchange gifts.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the soldiers put aside their differences for a few hours. Many of them - from both sides - ventured into "no man's land," where they met and exchanged food and souvenirs, and sang carols together.
It is said that at the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines calling out "Merry Christmas." The Allied soldiers were wary at first, thinking it might be a trick, but when they saw the Germans approach them unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches as well, and shook hands with the enemy.
The holidays are fast approaching, and they will be here before we know it.
It can be relatively easy to find a present for your family's family historians since they appreciate practical gifts.
- Genealogists spend a lot of time researching and collecting information. In their line of "work," it is important to stay neat and organized. They may like a new pencil case with office supplies such as pencils, paper clips, a stapler, Post-it stickers and labels.
Recently, many historical television series have become very popular. What is it about this genre that appeals to us? What draws us to them?
Perhaps it's about getting a glimpse of what life was like in times gone by. We feel more connected to our ancestors when we learn more about their lives and times. It's the same feeling that draws many of us to genealogy and family history research. The achievements and struggles faced by our ancestors serve as lessons for our own future. After all, history is known to repeat itself.
One such show is the British series, "Downton Abbey," which has swept a nation and also has become popular in other countries, as well. It is now into its fifth season.
"Downton Abbey" follows the Crawley family through major events in history, showing the effects on their lives. The series opened with news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, followed by the outbreak of the WWI, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second season. It dealt with the interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third season, the Teapot Dome scandal in the fourth, and the general election of 1923 in the UK in the current season.
Today only, share this link with your family and friends and have them sign up for a free MyHeritage account to build a family tree and discover new relatives and ancestors (you can as well, if you don't have an account already): http://bit.ly/GZrCjp
Yesterday we asked you to caption a photo for a chance to win a digital camera.
Today, we're continuing our week of holiday giveaways!
Did you know that Christmas trees were originally hung upside down from ceilings in some countries? Or that up until 100 years ago, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in parts of the United States?
Many Christmas traditions still common today date back thousands of years in some form or another. Some customs, such as the 12 days of Christmas, gift-giving, and caroling, have been traced back to as early as Mesopotamian times.
When did we start celebrating Christmas as we know it today?
In 1647, the English Parliament passed a law making it illegal to celebrate Christmas. The ban was lifted in 1660. During Queen Victoria's reign, Christmas was a time for gift giving, and became a special season for children. In Colonial America, Christmas was not celebrated as we know it today. Even in the US, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas until about 100 years ago.
As customs developed in different countries, we celebrate many of the same holiday traditions.
As Christmas nears, millions of children around the world are using these two words to begin their letters to Santa , with the hope he will bring what they want.
These letters are often sent by obliging parents to Santa's home at the North Pole. However, back in time, it was popular to send "Dear Santa" letters to a local newspaper, which published them.
Our newspaper collection includes over 120 million pages dating back to 1609, and a quick search using the keywords "Dear Santa" brings really interesting results...
The rules were simple: Send us a short video incorporating the MyHeritage logo and letting us know where you are.
For more on the contest announcement, see the blog post here. Congratulations to our four winners for your great videos.
We received videos showing lots of happy MyHeritage multigenerational families - and even a family pet! The team thanks to everyone that participating, for their time and creativity. We enjoyed viewing your entries and hope you had fun making the videos.
View the other three winning entries below.