Merry Christmas 2019; a look at early 20th Century Christmas postcards

The early 20th Century was the golden age of postcards in the United States. The colorful cards were an inexpensive way to send greetings to friends near and far. As you might imagine, Christmas was a popular theme for postcards, and many a wish for a Merry Christmas was sent via postcard between 1905 and 1930.

Christmas postcards came in a seemingly infinite variety. As a compulsive preserver of the past who was born on Christmas, I have not shied away from saving nearly every Christmas postcard that has crossed my path. So, let’s take a look at a few of the ways we said “Merry Christmas” a century ago….

Railroads were still the main source of transportation and a part of everyday life, so it is only natural that they would appear on Christmas cards. This one dates from around 1910 and was printed in Germany (as were many of the postcards sold in the United States, at least prior to 1914 anyway).
Even a hundred years ago, Santa was known to keep up with the latest innovations, in this case ditching the “miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer” for a fine touring automobile. Mailed in 1921, this card was printed in the USA.
Along with presents, Santa is bringing someone a Christmas Tree. Mailed in 1921, this card was produced by the Gibson Art Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Children throughout the ages have been trying to catch a glimpse of Santa, the boy and girl on this circa 1910 card have set out in an early airplane to conduct their search.
Santa Claus was a firmly established icon by the age of postcards, as seen in this circa 1910 US printed card.

Religious themed cards were also popular. Mailed in 1913, this German printed card depicts the Three Wise Men, or Magi if you prefer.
Puppies and kittens appeared on many cards. Mailed in 1907, this card was printed in Germany.
A snow covered home in the woods was another popular theme for cards, as seen on this circa 1910 German made card.
The late 19th Century saw many Norwegians immigrate to the United States. Many of these immigrants settled in the Midwest and formed farming communities (Northeast Kansas was home to several such communities). Demand was sufficient enough that the Whitney Company of Worcester, Massachusetts printed Christmas postcards in Norwegian. This card was mailed on December 22, 1915 from Horton, Kansas to Everest, Kansas.
Jolly old St. Nick is depicted in a suit of blue on this 1905-1907 card printed in England.
Not all of the postcards bore what we might consider “traditional” Christmas themes. Thus we shall leave you with this black cat and his wishes for a Merry Christmas!


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