I think that my parents usually sent out Christmas cards, although I don't remember being involved in it at all. I do remember going through and reading the cards that they would receive, however. I don't think that we ever had any family picture cards when I was growing up.
As soon as our first born turned 1 year old (she was born in 1973), we began sending out cards with pictures of our children on them. For a few years, since the children have been gone, I made our cards. However, last year and again this year, we are sending out cards with pictures of the grandchildren.
I have a Christmas card that my husband's parents sent out in 1950...it looks so old!