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Monday, November 28, 2016

Vintage Christmas Cards Found In An Old Family Trunk

Vintage Santa Christmas CardSeveral years ago, my mother came across an antiquated box of family Christmas cards reaching back into the early 20th century. For those of you who enjoyed the British television series, Downton Abbey, this would encompass the Edwardian era before WWI (Season One). Other cards were sent during the Great War and soon after its conclusion. Some cards may extend even further back in time. This window into the past makes me very nostalgic. Reading the messages included in these holiday greetings transports me to an age forgotten by many, but shouldn’t be.
I’ve often heard about these ancestors, fine people, and even remember some of them from my childhood. Others lived far later into my life, but began theirs when America was quite a different place. Some cards from family friends are people not known to me, but glimpsed through their greetings. These gentle folk wouldn’t be trampling each other at Walmart on Black Friday. There is a graciousness in this era, despite the World Wars, that we are losing. Hearken back with me to earlier days.
Vintage American Christmas Card--excited boy peering through windowThese cards Mom scanned are among the most colorful. Because the cost of ink was high in that era, many only had small colored images or were in black and white. To receive a truly colorful greeting would have been a real treat. I’m grateful my family saved these images and messages from a simpler, more refined time. Many of these folks lived in Virginia. Our roots in the Old Dominion go back several hundred years.
Because of my fascination with these bygone days, I’ve written two Christmas romance novellas published by The Wild Rose Press: A Warrior for Christmas (set in Colonial America) and Somewhere the Bells Ring (set in the old Virginia family homeplace in the 1960’s with flashbacks to 1918). Both eBooks are available  at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and from all other online booksellers. A Warrior for Christmas is also out in audio at Amazon.
For more on me visit my Amazon Author Page:
“Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.”  ~W.J. Cameron
Old Christmas Card Family Scene
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
“This is the message of Christmas:  We are never alone.”  ~Taylor Caldwell
Vintage American Christmas Card with Carolers
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  ~Charles Dickens
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  ~Washington Irving
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”  ~Alexander Smith
Early American Christmas Card--Romantic Couple
“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.” ~Eva Logue
***For those of you interested in old trunks. The one containing these cards and other family memorabilia is pictured below. We think it dates from about 1870, but are not certain. If you have a better guess let me know.
old family trunk


  1. Weren't the older cards just beautiful?
    How amazing to find such treasures.

  2. How wonderful, Beth. The art in old greeting cards is often exquisite.

  3. I love this, Beth! One year a friend included an old Christmas card inside each card he sent. We were thrilled to get ours and noticed it was sent the year my mother was born. He told us we were the only people who said they were happy to get the cards and that some people even returned them because they believed he'd included the old card by mistake. Unfortunately, my family moved a lot and we don't have things like that. I'm glad you treasure your heritage! Also, I appreciate that you share it with us.

    1. Thanks Caroline. Wow, what a gift he gave. So sorry you misplaced yours. I can't understand not treasuring our heritage and am grateful for mine. Meanwhile, mom is seeing if she can find more old cards. :)

  4. I'm always fascinated by artwork of the early 1900s. Unlike today, with so little materials to use, artists turned out beautiful and treasured works. Thank you for such a wonderful post during the holidays.

  5. Neat post and awesome old trunk! So cool to possess these unique cards from bygone times.

  6. What treasures! Thank you for sharing your beautiful cards.


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