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Those were the days... Victorian Christmas cards for beginners.

Updated: Jan 5, 2022




Did you know that the Christmas cards we send every year started in 1843 when Henry Cole decided he needed to send something quicker than a letter at Christmas? (I expect some of you are wondering why some of us send letters as well...).


Merry Christmas from the Harpur Crewes | Derbyshire Record Office (wordpress.com)


'In Britain, the custom of sending Christmas cards was started by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. A senior civil servant, Cole helped set-up the new 'Public Record Office' - the modern day Post Office. In a bid to encourage more people to use the Public Record Office, Sir Henry and his friend artist John Horsley came up with the idea of Christmas cards. They designed the first seasonal card and sold them for 1 shilling each (equivalent to 5 pence today).' Daily Mail 2021 .


Please do take a moment to look at the article for pictures of dead robins, upside down frogs, demons and scary snowmen.

Although I do like the drawings of the smart cats (main picture), being a proud 'owner' of Jess and Maisie, it would be more suitable for a summer postcard, in my opinion.


To my eyes our Christmas cards are getting smaller, but then that is not a bad thing, we are using less paper, or is my eyesight fading?

I would prefer not to send cards at all, a festive group email would suffice

The Victorians must have had a sense of humour to send this 'A merry Christmas' card.

Were there more miserably cold and wet Christmases in the 19th century? It certainly was tough for those who were homeless as it is now, but more so for children then.

Perhaps there was a demand for this card to sell. In fact I quite like this miserable card. I'm feeling ghoulish today and I cant face writing any more cards than the five I have done already.





I cant quite understand to whom you would send such a strange card ( to the left) . Moths dying are not what we usually discuss or look at when eating the turkey and/or nut roast dinner. The Victorians evidently had a much better romantic imagination than ours today to create such an object of desire, But then they didn't have social media to flutter through. My eyesight is definitely worse, and I have mislaid my computer glasses, so I've copied out the card's lovely ditty for you below.






Libraries | Birmingham City Council


'The Night Is Dark And My Messenger Moth Has The Weight Of My Love To Bear, To Fly To The Light Of Thy Laughing Eyes, And Lay Down His Burden There. The Sun Shall Arise To Gild The Snow, That Hushes Each Human Tread, My Love Shall Wait Thy Door, Sweetheart, Where My Messenger Moth Lies Dead.'

(Thanks once again to the Bored Panda website for sharing these gems with us)

Merry Christmas from the Harpur Crewes | Derbyshire Record Office (wordpress.com)


I expect some of you (or most of the people in my village) will prefer the beautiful card (above) with a lovely picture of Tray guiltily peeking our from the blue flowers, (has he eaten the chocolates or Christmas cake?) wishing us good fortune.

I have cheered up now and this one is definitely my favourite. It's sentiment and artwork chime together nicely. I definitely think some Victorian designs could make a welcome comeback, don't you?

Wishing you all a prosperous Christmas and Joyful New year in these difficult times, and many thanks for your support of Manage your Language books .

Carolyn M Holmes (Author) www.manageyourlanguage.com