Thursday, December 11, 2008

The red and green attack

Soon, red and green envelopes will fill mailboxes across the country. Where did this tradition begin?

Christmas and holiday cards have been popular since 1875, when Louis Prang, a lithographer and German immigrant who settled in Boston, published his first holiday card for customers.

Lat year, Americans exchanged about 2 billion cards. The average American mails 26 greeting cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- up from 21 in 2004. 60 percent of all cards are mailed the first two weeks of December.

And just to balance things out, 15 percent of Americans send their cards out after New Year's Day.

Holiday stamps are common today -- with billions sold. But the very first holiday stamp was printed in 1962. The green and red 4-cent stamp featured a wreath, two candles and the words "Christmas 1962."

Photo by Marcy Earley

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