Self-made cards with goodwill verses have been sent by hand or by post, for centuries. The first that's recognizable as what we now think of as a Christmas card, i.e. a printed card sent by post, was sent at Christmas 1843.
Since then the billions of cards that have been sent almost all contain a printed verse. Many of these are culled from religious or sentimental texts, notably from Victorian authors such as Charles Dickens.
Here's a selection of the numerous verses and rhymes that have been used as source material by Christmas card writers - from the touching and profound to the comic and cynical:
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small. - Eva K. Logue
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year. - Walter Scott
A Christmas shopper's complaint is one of long-standing.
And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger. - St. Luke 10-12
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. - Dr. Seuss
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world - stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death - and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. - Henry Van Dyke
As the Holiday Season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped to shape our business in a most significant way. We value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you in the year to come. We wish you a very happy Holiday Season and a New Year filled with peace and prosperity.
At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year - Thomas Tusser
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.
Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind;
Teach us to be patient and always to be kind. - Helen Steiner Rice
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love! - Hamilton Wright Mabie
Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. - Augusta E. Rundel
Christmas ... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart. - Freya Stark
Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year. - P.J. O'Rourke
Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever. - Bess Streeter Aldrich
Christmas is a race to see which gives out first - your money or your feet.
Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered. What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day. - Phyllis Diller
Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it. - Richard Lamm
Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. - Carol Nelson
Christmas is for children. But it is for grown-ups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts. - Lenora Mattingly Weber
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. - Calvin Coolidge
Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year - and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority. -W.J. Cameron
Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. - Washington Irving
Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money.
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. - Norman Vincent Peale
Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given--when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes. -Joan Winmill Brown
Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. -Mary Ellen Chase
Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. - Augusta E. Rundel
Don't expect too much of Christmas Day. You can't crowd into it any arrears of unselfishness and kindliness that may have accrued during the past twelve months. -Oren Arnold
Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven's making. -Leigh Hunt
For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home. -W.J. Ronald Tucker
For the spirit of Christmas fulfils the greatest hunger of mankind. -Loring A. Schuler
From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it. - Katharine Whitehorn
From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other. - Emily Matthews
Great little One!
whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven,
stoops Heaven to Earth. - Richard Crashaw
Greetings of the Season and Best Wishes for the New Year
Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! - Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. - Roy L. Smith
Heap on the wood!-the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We'll keep our Christmas merry still. - Sir Walter Scott
Holiday Greetings and Best Wishes for a New Year of Happiness in a world of peace.
Holiday Greetings!. . . celebrate each day.
I can understand people simply fleeing the mountainous effort Christmas has become... but there are always a few saving graces and finally they make up for all the bother and distress. - May Sarton
I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday - the longer, the better - from the great boarding school where we are forever working at our arithmetical slates, to take, and give a rest. -Charles Dickens
I do like Christmas on the whole.... In its clumsy way, it does approach Peace and Goodwill. But it is clumsier every year. - E.M. Forster
I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. - Charles Dickens
I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas; that it is changing from a time of merriment and carefree gaiety to a holiday which is filled with tedium; that many people dread the day and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary, bored souls; that the children of enlightened parents no longer believe in Santa Claus; that all in all, the effort to be happy and have pleasure makes many honest hearts grow dark with despair instead of beaming with good will and cheerfulness. - Julia Peterkin, A Plantation Christmas, 1934
I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play,And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I love the Christmas-tide, and yet,
I notice this, each year I live;
I always like the gifts I get,
But how I love the gifts I give! - Carolyn Wells
I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays - let them overtake me unexpectedly - waking up some find morning and suddenly saying to myself: "Why, this is Christmas Day!" - David Grayson
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. - Charles Dickens
I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. - Harlan Miller
If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas? - Don Meredith
If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away.
In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' - Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"
Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. - Francis C. Farley
Isn't it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for - I don't know what exactly, but it's something that you don't mind so much not having at other times. - Kate L. Bosher
It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart. - Marjorie Holmes
It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. - W.T. Ellis
It is the one season of the year when we can lay aside all gnawing worry, indulge in sentiment without censure, assume the carefree faith of childhood, and just plain "have fun." Whether they call it Yuletide, Noel, Weinachten, or Christmas, people around the earth thirst for its refreshment as the desert traveller for the oasis. - D.D. Monroe
It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless Us, Every One! -Charles Dickens
Let the spirit of love gently fill our hearts and homes. In this loveliest of seasons may you find many reasons for happiness.
Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart.
Many banks have a new kind of Christmas club in operation. The new club helps you save money to pay for last year's gifts.
May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!
May peace, love and prosperity follow you always.
May the Blessings of Christmas be with you today and always.
May the closeness of friends, the comfort of home, and the unity of our nation, renew your spirits this holiday season
May the Good Lord fulfill you with His promises and bestow on you His many blessings
May the Holiday Season bring only happiness and joy to you and your loved ones.
May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you now and throughout the new year.
May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you throughout the coming year.
May you have the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of His love at christmas and always
Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year.
Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a happy new year
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Merry Christmas May God bless you richly throughout this holiday season.
Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. - Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas
Next to a circus there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit. - Kin Hubbard
Nothing's as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas. - Kin Hubbard
O Christmas Sun! What holy task is thine! To fold a world in the embrace of God! - Guy Wetmore Carryl
Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer.... Who'd have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? - Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
Oh! lovely voices of the sky
Which hymned the Saviour's birth,
Are ye not singing still on high,
Ye that sang, "Peace on earth"? - Felicia Hemans
Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. - Author Unknown
Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space. - Dave Barry
One of the real joys of the Holiday Season is the opportunity to say thank you and to wish you the very best for the new year
Only in souls the Christ is brought to birth, And there He lives and dies. - Alfred Noyes
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Our wish this Holiday Season ... A world to grow in where children will be safe and free. Peace!
Peace on Earth
Peace On Earth and best wishes throughout the New Year
Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day. - Helen Steiner Rice
People can't concentrate properly on blowing other people to pieces if their minds are poisoned by thoughts suitable to the twenty-fifth of December. - Ogden Nash
Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.
Remember, This December, That love weighs more than gold! - Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon
Roses are reddish
Violets are bluish
If it weren't for Christmas
We'd all be Jewish. - Benny Hill
Seasons Greetings and best wishes for the New Year
Season's greetings with all good wishes for the new year.
Sing hey! Sing hey! For Christmas Day; Twine mistletoe and holly. For a friendship glows In winter snows, And so let's all be jolly! - Author Unknown
Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing,
Returns to you glad. - John Greenleaf Whittier
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. - Burton Hillis
The Christmas season has come to mean the period when the public plays Santa Claus to the merchants. - John Andrew Holmes
The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected. - Samuel Johnson
The earth has grown old with its burden of care,But at Christmas it always is young. - Phillips Brooks
The gift of love. The gift of peace. The gift of happiness. May all these be yours at Christmas
The magi, as you know, were wise men - wonderfuly wise men who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.
The merry family gatherings-
The old, the very young;
The strangely lovely way they
Harmonize in carols sung.
For Christmas is tradition time-
Traditions that recall
The precious memories down the years,
The sameness of them all. - Helen Lowrie Marshall
The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.
The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting. - Louisa May Alcott
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin. - Jay Leno
The year end brings no greater pleasure then the opportunity to express to you season's greetings and good wishes. May your holidays and new year be filled with joy.
There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries. - W.J. Cameron
There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. - P.J. O'Rourke
There is no time more fitting to say "Thank You" and to wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a New Year of health, happiness and prosperity.
Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete. - Charles Dickens
To a joyful present and a well remembered past. Best wishes for Happy holidays and a magnificent New Year.
To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year. - E.B. White, The Second Tree from the Corner
To wish you the special gifts of this holiday season - Peace, Joy and Lasting Happiness.
Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display--so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn't the holly, it isn't the snow. It isn't the tree not the firelight's glow. It's the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.
Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year.
We hear the beating of wings over Bethlehem and a light that is not of the sun or of the stars shines in the midnight sky. Let the beauty of the story take away all narrowness, all thought of formal creeds. Let it be remembered as a story that has happened again and again, to men of many different races, that has been expressed through many religions, that has been called by many different names. Time and space and language lay no limitations upon human brotherhood. - New York Times,
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. - Agnes M. Pharo
Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again. - Grace Noll Crowell
When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? - G.K. Chesterton
Wouldn't life be worth the living
Wouldn't dreams be coming true
If we kept the Christmas spirit
All the whole year through?