I have been collecting vintage greeting cards for three or four years now, browsing antique shops, visiting stamp and postcard shows, and poring through boxes of old cards when the Cartophilic Society fair visits our local town. I love the vintage pictures of a bygone era, and the handwritten sentiments inside or on the back of the cards.
The oldest one I have, that is dated, is a Christmas postcard from 1907. Wonderful to see how the women are dressed!
I have a collection of Easter, birthday, Christmas, and New Year cards sent from a father, stationed in Italy during the Second World War, to his daughter back home in New Zealand. I think it is so lovely that his daughter kept the cards all these years.
Postcards were hugely popular in the early twentieth century, when improved printing technology meant that high-quality colour images could be mass-produced cheaply, and postcards were cheap to send. For a few years, postcards replaced the earlier, elaborate, Victorian-style Christmas cards. Sometimes the postcard would show a portrait of the sender, along with a festive greeting.
By the 1920s, the traditional folding Christmas card and envelope had returned.
I save a lot of my own cards that I receive and wonder if, one day, many years from now, future generations will look at them with fondness and feelings of nostalgia for a time gone by.
My passion for papercrafts began when I was a young girl, when I would save every birthday card I was given, many of which I still have today. I hang onto them for sentimental reasons—for memories of my childhood and of the people who gave them to me, but also for the beautiful images on the cards. I used to save all my Christmas cards as well, but unfortunately you can only accumulate so many before you officially become a hoarder! So a few years ago, out of necessity, I began to be selective in which ones I would keep. I still keep every card that Nick gives me, birthday cards from my family, as well as the beautiful handmade cards that our niece in England makes for us each birthday and Christmas. And of course, there are always a few that have such pretty pictures that I can’t bear to part with them.
However, all is not lost. Instead of discarding our Christmas cards at the end of the holiday season, I found a way to recycle them down to a couple of pages in an album. A few years ago I began a Christmas scrapbook album. Each year I make two collaged pages with pictures cut from the Christmas cards surrounding photos taken on Christmas Day, and some brief journalling on how we spent Christmas that year. The pictures from the Christmas cards make wonderful free embellishments on the pages, and it is lovely to look back through the different years and remember how we spent each Christmas.
What do you do with your Christmas cards once the festive season is over?