In the 18th century in England, children sent Christmas messages to their family on paper decorated with a border. But it wasn't until 1843, when a busy Sir Henry Cole commissioned a standard card greeting for all of his friends, that the modern day ritual of sending Christmas cards was invented. John Callcott Horsley designed the first.
The cards had a print run of 1,000 and were sold for a shilling each. They were expensive, but the idea caught on. The Penny Post, which had been introduced three years earlier, meant that a Christmas wish could be sent for just one penny.