Each day during the Christmas season, many businesses and private individuals turn to printers, asking them for personalised calendars and corporate Christmas cards. Writing Christmas cards became a tradition in the XVIII century, when the British royal family started to use them as a form of congratulation for social acquaintances.
So, Christmas cards became the ideal way to congratulate someone during the holiday season, without having to spend a lot of money on the purchase of gifts and wrapping paper. Furthermore, Christmas cards could be sent by mail without any problem; as the XX century advanced, more and more people turned to Christmas cards as a solution to an increasing social ambiance and to lessen the need to provide tokens or gifts of friendship that overwhelms their entire financial income.
Even so, Christmas cards became a great advertising and marketing opportunity since trade cards started to appear. Trade cards are prints on one single sheet or card, with the business simply wishing the customer a Merry Christmas; but the idea of the Christmas card as we know it started to appear and become more popular in the XX century. In 1961 only 2000 of them were printed, while in 2005 an average of 1.4 million Christmas cards were printed, sent and distributed.
This makes Christmas cards one of the strongest money-makers for the printing industry, not only from the private sector, but also from the commercial sector that seeks to elevate their business higher in the ranking of the target market, in contrast to their competitors.
Frequently, printing workshops linger through the year with a small amount of work, according to the difficulties and economic events that happen in the location where they are found; it might be that all the work they do relates to marketing promotional products. Big printing companies do not worry much about the off season, since they carry on the printing requirements for other companies, however, the small printing business, the one that suffers the changes of the printing business season, suffers the consistent reduction of marketing promoting products.
The Internet, with its online marketing potential, makes it less necessary for advertisers and marketers to use promotional products to enhance the presence of a product, service or business in the target market. Consequently, printing workshops have to subsist as much as possible on alternative means, until the Christmas season. Christmas cards are still popular among private citizens and businesses; however, the appearance of the laser printer and the increasing use of the Internet has modified greatly the way Christmas cards are viewed, printed and even created.
In yester years, Christmas cards were printed on cardboard and decorated with water colours and even glitter; now, even serigraphy is taken off the Christmas cards, making laser printed Christmas cards the new fashion statement; this might end up reducing the printing workshops to a thing of the past.
Despite it all, Christmas cards are still the biggest income source for all printing workshops alongside the printing of catalogues and calendars. Therefore, the effect that Christmas cards have on the printing industry is evident to the naked eye.