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In 1843 Henry Cole commissioned an artist to design a card for Christmas.The illustration showed a group of people around a dinner table and a Christmas message.published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert's childhood in Germany.Soon every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.Gift giving had traditionally been at New Year but moved as Christmas became more important to the Victorians.

Together with the introduction of the halfpenny postage rate, the Christmas card industry took off.However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognise today.The transformation happened quickly, and came from all sectors of society.By the 1880s the sending of cards had become hugely popular, creating a lucrative industry that produced 11.5 million cards in 1880 alone.The commercialisation of Christmas was well on its way.It's hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated.

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