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Hallmark strives to provide consumers with the products they need to express themselves and enhance their relationships with family, friends and other important people in their lives. With one of the world's largest creative staffs – around 800 artists, designers, stylists, writers, editors and photographers – and the best researchers in the industry, Hallmark is a true leader in the personal expressions business. We provide cards and products for many occasions, including more than 20 holidays.
How a Holiday Is Created
People have felt the need to celebrate significant days and events since earliest recorded history, and quite likely, even long before that. Most such celebrations, at least until the past few centuries, stemmed from religious beliefs and practices – some of them pagan. They became known as "holy days" from the Anglo-Saxon words "halig daeg." From this religious term evolved the secular term "holiday." This is the origin of occasions such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
Today's calendars also contain designated legal federal holidays, such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, which often result in a day off work or school for many Americans. Technically, there are no national holidays in the U.S. The President and Congress designate by law the holidays to be observed in the District of Columbia and by federal employees throughout the United States. Federal offices, banks and schools typically are closed on legal federal holidays. However, the federal government cannot declare a holiday to be observed by the entire country. Instead each state governor has the authority to specify the holidays for the state. It is customary for states to coordinate major holidays to fall on the same date across the country.
Throughout the years, individuals have led grassroots efforts to establish holidays such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents Day and Sweetest Day. As word of these new observances spread, many others joined in supporting and celebrating the holidays. Eventually, some individuals took the observances to governmental or professional organizations for official national recognition.
The President of the United States and the U.S. Congress have recognized many special days in the form of proclamations or resolutions. For many years, Congress played an active role in declaring special observances for people, events or other activities deemed worthy of national recognition. However, since passing these resolutions occupied a significant amount of time and effort, Congress decided to discontinue this process in January 1995. Some state legislatures and governors, as well as city officials, still proclaim special days for their regions. Other holidays have been acknowledged by registering them with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or other professional organizations.
Being listed in Chase's Calendar of Events is a way for new celebrations and events to achieve recognition and status. In recent years, many individuals and organizations have found that declaring a holiday by naming a day, week or month and promoting it to the public has become an effective way to draw attention to their causes, even without the "official" holiday status.
How a Holiday Gets Its Greetings
Hallmark was founded in 1910 and began making cards for holidays in the decade that followed. To respond appropriately to consumers' celebration needs, Hallmark has always paid close attention to trends and monitored demand for holiday products.
While consumer demand is an important part of the overall equation, it alone is not enough to prompt Hallmark to create greetings for holidays. Some holidays lend themselves to sending cards more than others. When evaluating a potential holiday offering, we consider: 1) "sendability" (How likely are consumers to send cards for this occasion?) and 2) whether or not there is a large enough market across the United States to justify manufacturing products for it.
In the digital age, e-cards continue to be popular for some holidays and occasions, especially those such as Groundhog Day and Earth Day. E-cards offer Hallmark ways to help people connect at times when they find less need for a tangible paper card. This technology also provides us with a new avenue to test the demand people have for potential products for new occasions and situations.
Stories Behind the Holidays
So if you think that special date on the calendar is a "just a Hallmark holiday," think again. There are fascinating histories behind every holiday for which Hallmark makes cards. We are happy to share the stories behind the holidays and the individuals who brought them to national recognition.
Return to the Holidays & Celebrations page to find out more about the history of individual holidays and details from Hallmark's research, as well as to learn how Hallmark meets consumer needs for celebrating the holidays.