Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Victorians Had a Much More Macabre Approach to the Festive Season: 25 Bizarre and Creepy Vintage Christmas Cards from the Victorian Era

Christmas cards today usually feature a jolly Santa, fluffy woodland animal or green glittery tree, but Victorian versions had a much more terrifying tone.

The first Christmas card was commercially produced by Sir Henry Cole in 1843 but it was not until the 1870s, and the introduction of the halfpenny stamp, that sending cards was affordable for almost everyone. Victorians then leapt upon the idea with alacrity.

It was usual in the 19th Century for friends and relations to exchange letters at Christmas time. The Victorians had a different idea to what Christmas was about - not particularly Christian, but a time of good humor.

The cards were not only overwhelmingly secular, but some were grimly non-festive. Rosy-faced children gathered round a decorated tree might be seen on a card - but so might a dead robin or a turnip wearing a hat.

Here's a collection of 25 bizarre and creepy vintage Christmas cards from the Victorian era:

May Christmas be Merry

May yours be a Joyful Christmas

A Merry Christmas to you

A hearty Christmas greeting

May all jollity ‘lighten’ your Christmas hours

Absent friends [natives], may we soon see them again! A merry Christmas to you (1876)

I have come to greet you

A happy Christmas to you

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

An example of one of the first Australian Christmas cards, collected by Bessie Rouse

A Krampus Christmas card

A joyful Christmas to you

A happy Christmas

“So please excuse this impecunious card, As all I’m good for is a used up.”

Every good wish for your Christmas

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (1876)

A happy Christmas to you

Wishing you a merry Christmas

A Christmas pudding-themed card

With many merry Christmas greetings

Who’s afraid?

A Victorian snowman

Wishing you a purr-fectly happy Christmas

A happy Christmas to you

Here’s a crow for Christmas

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