December 8, 2009

The History of Christmas Greeting Cards

Filed under: About GotFreeCards, christmas ecards — Tags: — ecards @ 9:56 am

Every holiday has traditions attached to it.  From trick-or-treating on Halloween, to eating a great meal on Thanksgiving, there seems to be a tradition for every special day of the year.  Christmas is only different, in that there are so many traditions associated with it.  One of the most popular Christmas traditions is sending greeting cards.  Like all holiday traditions, though, greeting cards themselves have a long history.

We’ve reached the point in technology where free animated ecards allow us to send and receive high-quality cards without spending any many.  But this innovation is a fairly recent one.  In fact, greeting cards came into being as a result of the shrew business acumen of a British man named Sir Henry Cole—and his entire aim was to get money!

Cole was instrumental, in the 1840s, in helping create what became known as the Penny Post.  With the Penny Post, people could mail as many letters as they wanted, all over the country, for only a penny each.  This cheap alternative to more expensive mailing services was an instant hit.  Cole knew his new system would be successful from the beginning, though, and he was planning, the entire time, to unveil something new to generate more revenue from his Penny Post.  And a few years later, he did: the first official commercial Christmas card.  Costing only a penny each to mail, the initial print run of over two thousand cards sold out within a year!

Later on in the 1800s, a more related precursor to free ecards came about: home-made cards.  Commercial cards were relatively cheap, sure, but many English citizens were so poor they couldn’t even afford to buy the cards themselves; and so they started creating them at home, using everything from old pieces of fabric, to scrap paper.  Still others, who could have afforded to purchase cards, went the home-made route for a different reason: they were protesting what they saw to be the over-commercialization of Christmas.  For many of England’s upper class, making home-made cards was a way to keep Christmas pure.

Chain stores were of course next on the innovation list, and many of those stores we still have around today: those places that take up large chunks of our area shopping malls, and who specialize in selling greeting cards for all occasions.  The early 1990s brought the first greeting card computer software, too: this software allowed users (who purchased it for a high cost, of course) to create professional-grade greeting cards at home, on their own personal computers.

The biggest innovation in the history of greetings is, of course, free ecards.  As simple a process as it is, and always has been, to purchase a card from a store and mail it, it’s even easier to pick out your own favorite free Christmas ecards and send them electronically, instantly.  Best of all, they’re completely free.

Christmas Ecards: A Few of my Favorites

Filed under: christmas ecards — Tags: , — ecards @ 2:40 am

by Josh

Christmas is coming up pretty soon, which means the pressure’s on to finish all your shopping.  You probably already have decided to send some free Christmas ecards, but with so many to choose from, you may be having a hard time narrowing it down.  Let me tell you a little about some of my favorite Christmas ecards, and maybe I can help your decision-making process.

Sunny Christmas Ecard

This card starts with a brisk, wintery scene…and then the image pans back to show that we’re really looking at a toy snow globe, and the weather on this exotic beach—where the action actually takes place—is quite nice.  I like this card a lot, because it speaks to two very important truths about me: I love Christmas, and I hate cold weather!

The Christmas List Ecard

This card delivers some welcome news: the markets are rebounding!  Hurray!  But the reason?  Santa’s reviewed your Christmas list, and coal producers are expecting record gains.  I know a few people who barely manage to stay off Santa’s naughty list, so this card is great for them—and for any pranksters and trouble makers you might know!

Crossing Guard Santa

This one is pretty cute.  Here, a school crossing guard ducks from his duties, and steals a quick nap on a bench.  As he sleeps, snow starts to fall, covering him.  And by the time he wakes up, he looks pretty indistinguishable from Santa himself!  Know someone with a good heart who could fill Santa’s job if the big man ever needed a break?  Then this is the card for you!

Golfing Christmas Ecard

When Santa’s not busy working at the toy factory or delivering gifts, he gets the reindeer to take him out to the greens, so he can enjoy a good round of golf!  My brother-in-love loves golf, and I know he’ll laugh himself silly when he sees this card.

Merry Christmas Sweetheart

Finally, here we the perfect card for one lovebird to another.  The message here says that yes, gifts and Christmas lights and things like that are nice, but the best part of Christmas is…waking up next to someone you love!

So those are some of my favorite free Christmas ecards.  I hope you like them, too.  And if not, you should still feel free to browse through all the different designs to the perfect one (or ones!).  After all, like I said earlier, there are tons to choose from!

December 3, 2009

How to Make a Shopping List for Christmas Gifts

Filed under: Free Animated Ecards, christmas ecards — Tags: , , — ecards @ 10:05 pm

If you end up spending way too much time Christmas shopping and come home with stocking stuffers that nobody is kicked about, maybe it’s time to rethink the way you go about it.

This technique to make a shopping list has helped me find the perfect gifts for my friends and family and saved me hundreds of dollars every time. Maybe it will help you?

1. Settle down at your desk comfortably with a piece of paper and a pencil.

2. Make three columns.

3. In the first column create two sub- headings – Must buy, Want to buy.

4. Under the first category, write the names of your dearest loved ones whom you absolutely must buy gifts for. Parents, siblings, best friend, spouse, grandparents, aunts and uncles may fall in this category. Include the people you care about the most and whom you will definitely be meeting or sending gifts to.

5. Under Want to buy, include people you like and want to give something to – such as colleagues, professors, business associates, tennis partner, distant cousin, child’s teacher etc.

6. In the second column – against each name write down what you know about them which would help you find gifts for them. For example – Against Mom, you could write – enjoys decorating, likes good coffee, is a Michelle Obama fan etc. Against Uncle Stephen, you could write – needs to get his den organized, enjoys cigars, poker

7. In the third column – translate the items in the second column to actual gifts. For example, gift options for mom could be – a yearly subscription to a leading Home Décor magazine or a couple of bags of the finest coffee beans,  a book about Michelle Obama or a collection of the best interview clippings with the First Lady from leading magazines. For Uncle Stephen, the options could be – hire cleaning help to clean out and organize den or build or buy a storage shelf for his large book collection, personalized poker cards or a new poker table.

8. When you’ve done this for all the people in your list, you will see that for each person you will have two or three gift options to choose from. Now, select the options you like best. For some people, you could combine a couple of gifts. For others, you could choose just one. Some gifts, you can make and personalize – a book with Michelle Obama clippings for Mom, for example. Some gifts, you can order online.

9. Do the same with the second category of people. Remember to include gifts that are ‘free’ – such as your babysitting services, an offer to read to someone or to drive them somewhere, to help somebody out for a day etc.

10. When your list is complete, go back with a pen and circle the gift options you like best. Carry the list with you so that if you don’t find your first choice or if it’s beyond your budget, you can pick options two or three.

11. Once you’re done shopping for your first category or ‘Must Buy’ group, bring back the piece of paper and think about the second category of people. By this time, you ought to know how much you have spent already and how much more your budget will allow.

Depending on how comfortable your balance card looks, shortlist your second group further. You can either choose a handful of people from this group and buy them thoughtful gifts or cut back on the budget for each individual and buy all of them similarly priced gifts at a warehouse store or discount store. Be creative. Even if your budget doesn’t allow a gift for everyone, you could still send them Free Christmas Ecards or personalized photo ecards. Or give them a box of home made cookies. At a time when people are trying to cut corners and save every penny, gift certificates or gift cards to bakeries and coffee shops or gas cards would all be appreciated more than you can imagine.

Tip: If you’re completely clueless as to what to get somebody, the best way to find out is by talking to them. Just call them up, chat with them for a few minutes, ask what they have been up to, what their Christmas plans are and how they have been – and within a few minutes – you will have surely learnt something about them that will give you great gift ideas.

December 2, 2009

Christmas Gifts – Sometimes, Less is More

Filed under: christmas, christmas ecards — Tags: , — ecards @ 8:03 am

Somebody please tell me, when did December creep up on me? My “to do” list says it’s time for a Christmas post and I can’t believe it’s just a few weeks away.

Some of us are probably not done with Thanksgiving leftovers yet….how could it be time for Christmas already?

So, if you’re grabbing your coat and bag to rush out to the mall to find the coolest bargains before they’re gone, wait. These tips could save you lots of time and some hard-earned money.

  • Never buy gifts for people because you have to. If someone is not really very close to you, then why waste time and energy trying to find an inexpensive gift for them that they will probably not use anyway? Too many of us fall into this trap of buying something, because it’s supposed to be better than nothing. I have news for you – it’s not. Unless you really know someone well, know what they might like, feel a special bond and really want to buy a gift for them – don’t. You’d be better off taking them out for coffee or simply wishing them a Merry Christmas in the hallway or the street. They’re more likely to remember and appreciate THAT than a pair of re-wrapped socks.
  • Always make a list and stick to it. Never head out to the mall without a list. It’s one of the most dangerous places to be in as far as your wallet is concerned. One minute you will be going in counting a handful of things you need to buy and 6 hours later you will be walking out with a dozen bags in each hand without a clue as to what hit you. You’ll find more tips on how to make a good shopping list that saves you time and money in the next post.
  • Buy bulk gifts whenever possible. Visit warehouse stores and find bargains on items such as stationary, books, clothes and other items. With one such bulk pack, you could strike off two or three people off your gift list.
  • Use Coupons. Do not throw away the flyers and coupons you receive in your mail, in magazines and newspapers. Clip them and save them. Even if you don’t find anything you like, you could always trade it with someone else who may be looking for those items. A book of neatly organized coupons in itself would make a good gift for a savvy shopper in your family.
  • Do not underestimate the value of FREE! Many of us don’t realize that some of the best gifts are still free. For something to be valuable, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Your time, for example is one of the best gifts there is. There are so many different ways you could use it to make someone else’s day better. You could offer to baby-sit your friend’s or sister’s kids for a few hours. For free. You could spend an hour reading to your nieces and nephews or to your kid’s class. For free. You could drive up to see your grandma in the senior center and spend an entire day with her. Or just take a day off and surprise your spouse, friend or mom at work, take them out to lunch or for a walk. The consumer culture we have all been subjected to has led us to forget the incredible value of free gifts that mean a whole lot more than a shopping bag full of unwanted clutter.

And on the same note- guess what else is completely free, creates no clutter and makes your loved ones smile even before they open it?

Free Christmas Ecards.  And, we’ve got plenty of those here.

Have a great Holiday Season!

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