Greeting card

Greeting card

A greeting card is an illustrated, folded card featuring an expression of friendship or other sentiment. Although greeting cards are usually given on special occasions, such as birthdays, Christmas or other holidays, they are also sent to convey thanks or express other feeling. Greeting cards, usually packaged with an envelope, come in a variety of styles. There are both mass-produced as well as handmade versions that are distributed by hundreds of companies large and small. While typically inexpensive, more elaborate cards with die-cuts or glued-on decorations may cost up to US $5 each.

Hallmark Cards and American Greetings are the largest producers of greeting cards in the world. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that one billion pounds are spent on greeting cards every year, with the average person sending 55 cards per year. [cite news |url = |title = Card sharps |publisher = BBC News |date = 2006-10-12 |accessdate = 2006-10-14]

In western countries and increasingly in other societies, many people traditionally mail seasonally themed cards to their friends and relatives in December. Many service businesses also send cards to their customers in this season, usually with a universally acceptable non-religious message such as "happy holidays" or "seasons's greetings".

The Greeting Card Association is an international trade organization representing the interests of greeting card and stationery manufacturers. John Beeder, former president of the Greeting Card Association, says greeting cards are effective tools to communicate important feelings to people you care about: "Anyone feels great when they receive an unexpected card in the mail. For me, there’s nothing like a greeting card to send a special message. I’m proud to be a part of an industry that not only keeps people connected, but uses both imagery and the power of words to help us express our emotions.”

Types of greeting cards

Standard Greeting CardsA standard greeting card is printed on high-quality paper (such as card stock), and is rectangular and folded, with a picture or decorative motif on the front. Inside is a preprinted message appropriate to the occasion, along with a blank space for the sender to add a signature or handwritten message. A matching envelope is sold with the card. Some cards and envelopes feature fancy materials, such as gold leaf, ribbons or glitter.

Photo Greeting CardsIn recent years, photo greeting cards have gained wide-spread popularity and come in two main types. The first type are photo insert cards in which a hole has been cut in the center. Your photo slides in just like a frame. The second type are printed photo cards in which the photo is combined with artwork and printed, usually on a high-end digital press, directly onto the face of the card. Both types are most popular for sending holiday greetings such as Christmas, Hanukkah & for baby showers. Musical Greeting CardsModernly greeting cards have been conceived which play music or sound when they are opened. They commonly have 3D handmade birthday cards whichplay traditional celebration songs such as Happy Birthday To You.

Pictures and printed messages in greeting cards come in various styles, from fine art to humorous to profane. Non-specific cards, unrelated to any occasion, might feature a picture (or a pocket to paste in a personal photograph) but no preprinted message.


The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the early 1400s, handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in Europe. The Germans are known to have printed New Year's greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400, and handmade paper Valentines were being exchanged in various parts of Europe in the early to mid-1400s.

By the 1850s, the greeting card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a popular and affordable means of personal communication, due largely to advances in printing and mechanization. This was followed by new trends like Christmas cards, the first of which appeared in published form in London in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card that he could send to his friends and acquaintances. In the 1860s, companies like Marcus Ward & Co, Goodall and Charles Bennett began the mass production of greeting cards. They employed well known artists such as Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane as illustrators and card designers.

Technical developments like color lithography in 1930 propelled the manufactured greeting card industry forward. Humorous greeting cards, known as studio cards, became popular in the late 1940s and 1950s.

By the 1980s there was a thriving market for what were called "alternative" greeting cards, and the name stuck even though these "alternative" cards changed the look of the entire industry. The trend was away from what was known as the standard look (sometimes called the Hallmark look.)Fact|date=August 2008


Postcards, which are single-sided without the fold, can function in a manner somewhat similar to greeting cards. Postcards appeared fairly early on in the history of the Postal Service as a cheaper way of sending messages, especially those of a tourist nature.

ee also

*Christmas card
*Valentine's Day


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • greeting card — UK US noun [C] US COMMERCE ► GREETINGS CARD(Cf. ↑greetings card) …   Financial and business terms

  • greeting card — greeting ,card noun count AMERICAN a card you give or send to someone on a special occasion such as their birthday …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • greeting card — n. CARD1 (n. 1h) …   English World dictionary

  • greeting card — noun a card sent to express personal greetings • Hypernyms: ↑card • Hyponyms: ↑birthday card, ↑Christmas card, ↑Easter card, ↑Valentine * * * noun, pl ⋯ cards [count] US : a decorated card with a message of good wishes that is sen …   Useful english dictionary

  • greeting card — card that sends a message of regards, letter of greetings …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Greeting Card Association — The Greeting Card Association is a United States trade organization representing the interests of greeting cards, gift wrapping paper and stationery manufacturers. Its membership consists primarily of United States publishers but foreign… …   Wikipedia

  • greeting card — noun A card, typically folded in half and available commercially, that is sent to someone as a greeting …   Wiktionary

  • greeting card — greet′ing card n. cvb a card, usu. folded, printed with a message or sentiment, and illustrated, for mailing or giving to a person on a special occasion, as a holiday or a birthday • Etymology: 1895–1900 …   From formal English to slang

  • greeting card — noun Date: 1898 a piece of paper or thin cardboard having any of a variety of shapes and formats and bearing a greeting or message of sentiment …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • greeting card — /ˈgritɪŋ kad/ (say greeting kahd) noun → card1 (def. 3) …   Australian-English dictionary

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