One of the best things about being on the internet as the holidays approach is getting to see all the Ephemera of Christmas Past. For instance, would you like to see a collection of mid-20th Century women posing with their trees (which are often aluminum!!!)? Here you go. Would you like to learn about Christmas Monsters? Yes, yes you would. Would you like to bask in the glorious weirdness of Victorian Christmas cards, like the one above, in which the annual Robin Christmas Party has gotten completely out of control? Click through!
The earliest recorded Christmas card seems like a perfect representation of the season:
Here’s a happy, feasting family flanked by hungry children being fed and clothed. It’s a card that seems to day, “Have a nice time with your loved ones, Victorian member of the middle class! Now let’s remember that not everyone’s so lucky, and try to help them out!” Nice Christmas/New Year’s sentiment, right? But as the holiday gained popularity in England, the ideas of what constituted Christmas iconography fluctuated. Hyperallergic has a great post explaining things like fads for natural history illustrations, and how dead animals represented various social ills that were just begging for the Victorian middle class to fix. But then you get stuff like this:
Seriously, Murder Frog? Are you sarcastically wishing your victim a Merry Christmas as you walk away with his money? Are you the Frog Hans Gruber? What is wrong with you?
Anyone out there have Black Philip on your Christmas card list? While the front seems a little, um, jarring? the inside of the card is appropriately festive: “Loving Christmas greetings, may smiling faces ring around your glowing hearth this Christmas day, may fun and merriment abound, and all your world be glad and gay.” That’s sweet! If only an evil goat wasn’t trying to steal our fruit basket.
Tor.com’s own Sarah Tolf expressed her delight in this card, so I had to share it. I love the idea that someone has interrupted this dog as he reads his paper, and he glances up, gives you a tail-wag, wishes you a joyful Christmas, and goes back to his article.
Anybody want to have a Very Southern Reach Christmas?
Um, none of us were afraid? Should we be? WHAT DO YOU KNOW, TIN SOLDIER?
Please understand we have only taken the tiniest bite of the plum pudding that awaits you over at Hyperallergic! Go forth and be merry.