In 1843, a wealthy British man named Sir Henry Cole had so many greetings to send, he couldn't hand write them all. So he had a card made and the Christmas card was born. Early cards were lithographed and often adorned with silk, lace, and satin. Between 1898 and 1918, Christmas postcards were the most popular way to convey holiday wishes.
Christmas postcards featuring Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas are the most collectible, particularly the early German postcards featuring Santa in colors other than red. The German version of Father Christmas, also called Belznickel, can be found in fur-trimmed robes of white, yellow, green, orange, black, and gray, and these cards are very collectible as well.
St. Nicholas’ devil companion, Krampus, can be found on antique German, Austrian, and Czechoslovakian cards. On these cards, Krampus is seen playing with the good children and tormented the bad ones. This creature with one cloven hoof is usually depicted carrying chains, a bundle of switches, and a large basket for holding bad children. Krampus also turns on his charms for pretty ladies, but mocks the unattractive ones.
Today, Krampus cards are highly sought by collectors. Cards depicting Father Christmas and Krampus together are also highly desirable.
To find these beautiful artistic old cards, look in antique shops and on line. Ebay is a fantastic place to not only see different holiday cards, but to also learn about them. Ebays website is http://www.ebay.com.
To display these beautiful cards, consider framing several in individual frames and making a grouping on the wall. There are also metal wreath forms that hold holiday cards without damaging them, utilizing these wreath forms would be perfect.
Displayed in baskets, scattered on trays, propped up on the mantel or tucked into your Christmas tree, vintage and antique holiday postcards will be a highlight of your decorating scheme.
Collect and display what appeals to you. There are categories such as Santa, animals, children, trees, outdoor scenes, and angels. Whatever you choose it will be perfect, as it is meaningful to you.