Vintage Christmas Cards

What do you look for in a vintage Christmas card and a heartwarming Christmas greeting? Plenty of reproduction retro and vintage cards are available in the UK. Wouldn’t it be nice though to be able to find and source a selection of real original cards? In addition to these rare untouched cards, we have a selection of cards re-made from the fronts of vintage originals. Take a look and tell us if you prefer Victorian cards or 50s or 70s vintage.

A History of vintage Christmas cards
A History of vintage Christmas cards

Who invented the Christmas card? 

The standard Christmas card was invented during the Victorian era in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, a UK civil servant responsible for the development of the Post Office. As trains replaced horses as the means of transporting mail the cost of postage fell - with a letter being able to be sent for one penny. Perhaps spurred on by the publication of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol in the same year, Cole came up with the idea of a Christmas Greetings card for sending best wishes. His aim was to give the common people a reason to use the post. It worked!

Where did antique Christmas cards become popular?

Popularity grew in the UK in the 1860s as different printing practices made the cards cheaper and in 1870 the cost of sending a card was reduced to half a penny which spurred people on further. By then old Christmas cards had become extremely popular in Germany. In 1875 Louis Prang began high-volume manufacture in the U.S.

What scenes were featured on early Christmas cards? 

The first card from Sir Henry Cole featured two side panels showing people giving to the poor. These opened up to reveal a family tucking into a large Christmas Dinner. Traditional designs, which are still much replicated today, include Christmas day nativity scenes, robins and snow scenes. Vintage boxed Christmas cards with an envelope became popular later in the 20th Century.

How many Christmas cards are sent each year?

The Royal Mail estimates that it processes 150 million Christmas cards sending holiday cheer to loved ones each year. Go Sir Henry Cole and Merry Christmas we say!

If you like this unique vintage Christmas greeting card collection and want to say happy Christmas to your nearest and dearest, then please take a look at the rest of our retro Christmas gifts for a great holiday season.