Vintage Christmas Cards

The imagery for Christmas cards might seem like a given these days, simple  & bold graphics, perhaps tending towards the nearly unidentifiable winter or generic holiday look. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pure graphic approach to a card. But there is something very engaging and fun about vintage and old-fashioned Christmas cards that really gets my attention.

From the traditional Victorian look:



To the very sweet and peaceful 1940’s style, such a contrast to the reality of that era. Don’t you want to live in that little snowy village?:

Dont you want to live there?

And the flowing, natural yet stylized Arts & Crafts-centric 1920s look of this beauty:




Dashing glamour, sweeping elegance and the highest of hopes translated into a party scene:


 And yet, so many cards were not as soft, sweet or traditional, unlike so much of today’s Christmas cheer fare as edited and produced by (perhaps overly) PC and inoffensive greeting card companies. Prime examples of a more ironic, or bitter take on the Season:



And the of course, there is Margaret Keene (you thought it was Walter, didn’t you!) being a little creepy for Christmas:


There was even a time when Christmas celebrations were outlawed in Boston, MA the Protestant heyday. Bah Humbug!

For more vintage Christmas goodness, check out these Flickr pages and groups:  Vintage Christmas: 1945-1970, profkaren’s set  Vintage Greeting Cards and a lovely assortment in sakameg’s Flickr account.

While this isn’t a card, this WPA poster is just the tops.


Works Progress Administration poster for The Federal Youth Theater's Christmas Carol production.

Works Progress Administration poster for The Federal Theater for Youth’s Christmas Carol production.

14 thoughts on “Vintage Christmas Cards

  1. I have to say, I do really like the top ones. But the bottom three are spectacular. That bear–????? what? I do kind of wish I could send out the Christmas cheer one, though ;-).

  2. What a great collection of cards! I often end up going with the Victorian look or on-the-cusp-of-being-non-PC cards. But, I have to say that the glamor party scene is awesome! Nice finds!

  3. ooh! i love the glamorous one – seems to presage flora’s style, with that amazing chandelier at the top. yay! happy holidays to you, craiggles, and jet 🙂

  4. Some of those are really great cards. The bear and the drunk …. well…lol. I do remember seeing some of those humorous ones (like the drunk) when I was a child at souvenir stands and novelty stores. I’d never seen one like the bear before.

    Thanks for sharing them.

  5. Pingback: Have Yourself a Roaring Twenties Christmas… | A Smile And A Gun

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