12/24/2014 10:00 EST | Updated 12/24/2014 10:59 EST

Canadian Politicians' Christmas Cards Are Simple And Festive

The holidays are a time for politicians to put aside the snappy exchanges and spread cheer by sending Christmas cards to friends, family and constituents alike.

And interestingly enough, Christmas cards are a tradition rooted in politics.

The first card ever sent was created by Sir Henry Cole, a British civil servant, as a way of promoting the universal penny post.

Note the child in the foreground having a sip of wine.(Image via Wikimedia Commons user Qquchn)

From there, they evolved into a way for politicians (and others) to spread fond wishes for the season. But the practice has sometimes led to ridicule.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Christmas card from last year was posted to the website, "awkwardfamilyphotos.com."

We don't really see what's so strange about it. The user who posted it seems to have been put off by Harper's wife Laureen holding a chinchilla, though people who commented on the photo don't seem to share the sentiment. After all, the Harpers have been known to foster animals in their home.

Nevertheless, the prime minister went for a simpler look this year: a picture of him, his wife Laureen, and children Ben and Rachel applauding at an event, with no animals in sight.

Here's how leaders of Canada's political parties, and the Governor General, are sending best wishes for the holiday season:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Governor General David Johnston

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