The largest recorded number of greeting cards sent to a single person went to Craig Shergold, a beneficiary or victim (depending on your point of view) of chain letters and later chain emails.
In 1989 Craig was diagnosed with, what was then considered, terminal brain cancer at the tender age of nine-years old. Not long after his diagnosis, Craig’s friends and relatives launched a chain letter campaign requesting people to send him greetings cards. The goal was to break the Guinness Book of World Records for 1,000,065 greetings cards received.
The chain letter campaign soon gained national and international attention and spiralled out of control. Craig received greetings cards from around the world, including from celebrities such as Madonna and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once the internet made its way into people’s homes, the campaign morphed into chain emails and went viral.
The most greetings cards ever sent to a single person was 350 million
Thankfully, Craig went on to make a full recovery after pioneering brain surgery in the US. To date he’s received an estimated 350 million greetings cards. The Royal Mail even gave Craig’s family home their own postal code due to the sheer volume of mail.
As of 2006 it is estimated that £1 billion are spent on greeting cards every year in the UK alone, with the average Brit sending around fifty-five cards a year. Christmas cards in particular account for almost half of the volume of all greeting card sales, with over 668.9 million Christmas cards sold in the 2008 festive period.
In the US over 6.5 billion greeting cards are sent each year, with annual retail sales estimated between $7–$8 billion. 1.9 billion Christmas cards were sent in the US in 2005 alone.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the first official White House Christmas card in 1953, though the idea of “official” Christmas cards being sent by a State or Ruling Monarch began with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the 1840s.
Have yourself a very Herdy Christmas
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