One of our first holiday tasks is the writing and sending of Christmas cards. The custom began in Great Britain around 1840 with the advent of the "Penny Post" -the first public postal delivery system. Legend tells that a procrastinating Englishman named Henry Cole actually started the tradition. In 1843, he found himself behind in his correspondence with friends and wanted to set things right with a cheery Christmas note to end the year. His resourceful idea led to a mass marketing of holiday cards, particularly after 1860 as printing methods improved. In Britain, sending season's greetings jumped in popularity when a card could be posted in an unsealed envelope for just one half-penny-- half the price of a regular letter. In 1865, Bostonian Louis Prang printed and sold the first Christmas card in the United States. The images and the message have remained fairly constant throughout the years -- pictures showing the Christmas story or other seasonal scenes along with wishes of a merry Christmas and a happy new year.