Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Messing with your mind: Victorian Christmas cards

The Victorians had kind of an odd sense of what was festive. Large jellyfish suspended in mid-air seemed like an unusual choice. Not sure what the child (dressed very strangely) is doing. Or is he/she perhaps underwater?

Now, here is the true Spirit of Christmas: a child taking a savage beating from Father Christmas. Or maybe this is our good friend Belsnickel! Didn't he used to tie kids to trees?

The Victorians loved anthro - anthropo -anthropomor - oh screw it, birds that looked like people. To me, this is remeniscent of Hieronymus Bosch and his bird-headed demons in Hell, but at least these guys are decently dressed.

Cards with dead birds on them. These just kept showing up. I don't think you'd send a card like this now, except maybe to a cat.

This looks kind of like a human dung beetle. I hope he doesn't have to go to the bathroom any time soon.

For some reason this reminds me of Terry Gilliam.

Merry Molluscs to All! And a loaded New Year.

This one is handsome, if oddly Satanic. Maybe it's the hornlike ears.

Frogs! Frogs everywhere, falling on their backs, murdering each other, marching in frog bands.

It seems that terrified children have always been part of the Yuletide scene. We've covered this in a previous post: Belsnickel and his terrifying sidekick, Krampus, but I really think this is a little extreme for Christmas. And why is he driving a car?

Now this is my favorite. It would make me scream out loud! I am not sure how this (and it looks a bit like a coaster for a drink) would convey The Compliments of the Season, but it must have, or nobody would have sent it.

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