Finals are upon us, and with them the start of the holiday season. Friday, December 9 is the official celebration of Christmas Card Day.

Before you send out your cards to all your loved ones, take a look into Christmas cards of the past by browsing through the extensive collection within The Portal to Texas History

The very first Christmas card was printed in 1843 in Victorian England, a product of the newly introduced postal system. Sir Henry Cole, a famous inventor and educator in his time, found himself overwhelmed with the amount of mail he received during the holiday season. Since leaving letters unanswered in Victorian England was considered impolite, Cole needed a way to respond to all of his well-wishers.

With the help of his friend, artist J.C. Horsley, he created an image of a family gathered around a table and had it printed on cardboard, with a "To:" and "From:" label at the top of each card to make filling it out quick and efficient. This led to the creation of the first method of sending just the right amount of holiday cheer that has carried on into our culture today.