Sunday, November 4, 2012


This Christmas Card from the Gilded Age is not unusual for it's time but it would be today. There is nothing on the card except the message that indicates this is a Christmas card, it actually looks more like a Valentine's card to me, but this was common for cards at this time. Floral images was actually rather common for Christmas cards at the time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


"Mark my words Balthazar, we're starting something with these gifts that's going to get way out of hand."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Visit From St Nicholas book covers

In 1823 Clement Moore wrote a story loosely based on Scandinavian tales of Saint Nicholas and a story from fellow New Yorker Washington Irving. The story was just meant for family but a friend submitted it to a newspaper and a Christmas tradition was born. Moore’s conception of Santa Claus, illustrated first by famous artist Thomas Nast, became popular across the United States

There have been hundreds of different book covers for the classic story and these are just a few of the illustrations.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Santa without his sleigh

I really like this old painting of Santa with his reindeer but without his sleigh. A magic carpet isn't any more absurd than a sleigh.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Santa before reindeer

Long after Santa Claus was popular he was still not using reindeer. Before Clement C. Moore's famous poem became popular Santa used various forms of transportation and these were the subject for 19th century Christmas cards.

Santa was depicted walking, using horses, donkeys, goats and other animals before he settled on flying reindeer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sugar Plums

Sugar plums are associated with Christmas through The Nutcracker ballet and Clement C. Moore’s poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” But by the time the poem was written sugar plums were on the way out and they are not really a popular candy. But the poem and the ballet fixed the candy firmly in the public imagination as an essential part of Christmas. But children might be very disappointed if they received sugar plums in their Christmas stockings.

Sugar plums are made of dried fruits, such as prunes, cherries, figs, apricots and other fruits. The fruit was chopped up and mixed with honey, chopped almonds and sometimes spices such as anise, caraway or cardamom. The mixture was rolled into a ball and sometimes rolled in coconut or sugar. The candy was somewhat sweet and sticky.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

19THCentury Christmas Engravings

Bringing in the Yule log

Christmas shopping

Chopping down the Christmas tree

1870's decorating the Christmas tree

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Angels are, of course, commonly associated with Christmas and they have been the subject of countless greeting cards, these are just a few examples.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Holly is a common shrub in Europe. It stays green in the dead of winter and became a symbol of rebirth to people before Christianity. It was collected to decorate homes during winter celebrations. This continued under Christianity.

The berries are poisonous, but attractive and are one of the attractions of this Christmas decoration, which is red and green, the colors of Christmas.