It’s the season to compare how many cards you have with your erstwhile friends, and while today most cards tend towards the cute and twee, in the past they were rather odder.

Of course, to someone of the past, our modern obsession with robins, carol singers and snow would seem just as odd to them as they are cute to us, but tastes and traditions change, and the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

There was an odd custom of collecting images of dead birds, and no one really knows why (Library at City of Tea Tree Gully)

No, I won’t marry you – PS, Merry Christmas (TuckDB Postcards)

The we hate Christmas protest march (nc1866-c5-item-146_00001)

Let me give you Covid for Christmas (TuckDB Postcards)

Nothing says Christmas quite like an argument over the lunch (Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove )

Merry Christmas, now let me stab you (TuckDB Postcards)

Some friendly Christmas cheer (The Trustees of Indiana University)

Just a dose of casual racism from 1903 (TuckDB Postcards)

So that’s where children come from (Boston Public Library)

Santa cone puts crying young pine-cone person in a sack (TuckDB Postcards)

A very strange dance for Christmas (The Trustees of Indiana University)

Lucky clover pigs hard at work – shouldn’t they be in blankets by now? (TuckDB Postcards

How big was that bird they are fighting over the wishbone? (TuckDB Postcards)

I guess it makes a change from socks (TuckDB Postcards)

A golliwog catching crabs while dolls try to survive from drowning. Yeup, it’s Christmas allright (TuckDB Postcards)

Mugged for Christmas, and not by the shops for once (The Trustees of Indiana University)

It wouldn’t be Christmas without clowns racing pigs (TuckDB Postcards)

The snowman is dying. PS, Merry Christmas (TuckDB Postcards)

It’s what Christmas is all about – crying babies from 1907 (TuckDB Postcards)

Is he flashing her? (TuckDB Postcards)

Fortunately, our attitudes have changed a bit since 1908 (TuckDB Postcard)


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Article last updated: 14 November 2021 19:22


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  1. Melvyn says:

    Always wondered where Pig Iron came from …!

  2. Emma says:

    Is the girl angel throwing a mousetrap at the flashing boy angel? Ouch!!!!!

  3. Jill says:

    yes, very strange … and fascinating

  4. Maennling Nic says:

    When I was a young lad inLondon I once saw a Christmas card and Santa had a green outfit on. I was shocked ! Nothing compared to your wonderfully researched collection. Thank you.

  5. Andrew Gwilt says:

    That first picture of the dead robin made me cry 😢😭😭

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