Christmas cards first became popular in the U.K. in the Victorian period. The idea of Christmas as a major celebration was in part brought over from Germany by Prince Albert, Victoria's husband. It had long been popular in Germany, which is why many of our traditions are so German in nature (and why we have German Christmas markets). But there were all sorts of developments that had a hand in making Christmas cards popular: cheap printing allowed cards to be printed en masse, the introduction of the Penny Post allowed common people to send each other mail, and industrialisation meant that people didn't necessarily live close to their relatives like they did before. The very first Christmas cards featured typical messages like 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'. They featured images of celebrations, were sentimental in nature, and rarely had religious themes.