A study of Christmas cards through the 20th century offers insight into the trends and social issues of their time period. Many of the cards from the early part of the century were post cards. Some featured Santa and his elves, but the larger part were decorated with flowers and nature scenes. By the 1920s cards with envelopes reappeared and were often hand painted cards with a highly stylized Art Deco appeal. Cards from the 1930s addressed the serious issues of Prohibition and the Great Depression or attempted to lift the spirits with whimsical cards featuring the characters from early animated feature films.
Patriotism was the theme as America went to war in the 1940s. Cards with text expressing a hope for peace were common as were a series of cards made especially for our men and women in uniform.
Christmas cards from the post-war years of the ‘50s reflected the optimism and energy of the decade with their light-hearted text and abstract designs. The ‘50s also saw the introduction of humorous cards, some of which were quite risque for their time. The 1960s brought us peace signs and psychedelic art, and in the 1970s the favorite theme was home and hearth.
Card senders of the 1980s were a health conscious group. As a result you will notice that Santa is much slimmer in the ‘80s than in previous years. New Age designs and high tech themes filled the card sending needs of the single crowd, while it seemed that everyone with a family was sending out cards with studio pictures of their clan.
Very early cards can be a challenge to find and are sometimes a little pricy. However, there exists a wealth of cards from the last half of the 20th century at your local antique malls, resale shops and flea markets, often by the box. They are inexpensive to purchase, fund to send and with a hand written not from you they are one of the best way to send “tidings of comfort and joy....” this Christmas.
Until next time,
Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in senior downsizing and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-429-7887 or email@example.com.