Christmas cards: Top 10 facts as today marks last day to send them out second-class

1. The first commercial Christmas cards were designed in 1843 for senior civil servant Sir Henry Cole by his artist friend Sir John Horsley.

2. Cole was Assistant Keeper at the Public Record Office which was later to become the Post Office. 

3. Horsley was a painter who was so passionately opposed to the use of nude models that he acquired the nickname Clothes Horsley.

4. His first Christmas card design had two panels showing people caring for the poor and a centre panel of family having a large Christmas dinner.

5. It sold for one shilling (5p) and 1,000 were first printed with another 1,050 when they ran out.

6. In 2001, a card sent by Sir Henry Cole himself to his grandmother in 1843 sold at auction for £22,500. 

7. In Finland, around 600,000 cards are sent to Santa Claus every year.

8. Last Christmas, around 100 million single cards were bought in the UK, plus another 900 million in packs or boxes of cards.

9. Around £50 million is raised each year from the sale of charity Christmas cards.

10. The term “Christmas card”, first seen in 1869, predates “birthday card” by more than 30 years.