Tag: Vintage Christmas

The Night Before Christmas!

Clement Clarke MooreFor our final blog of 2012 we thought we would share with you one of our favourite Christmas poems “Twas the Night before Christmas” also known as “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by American poet Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863). Apparently, before this poem became so popular, St. Nicholas (of course Santa Claus) had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers! Can’t really imagine not having Rudolf around at Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all at Vintage Dorset! We hope you have a peaceful and joyful day and a great New Year – see you in 2013!

 

 

Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”


Published by annie, on 23rd December 2012 at 12:52 pm. Filled under: Christmas,Vintage Activities,Vintage Arts,Vintage Events,Vintage Local History Tags: , , , , , Comments Off on The Night Before Christmas!

It’s Christmas Card Time!

People have been giving and receiving Christmas greetings in some form or another for hundreds of years but when did giving Christmas cards become so popular?. Well it seems it all began in 1843 with art patron Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882), founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (and also designer of “Summerly’s” tea service made by Minton). This caricature of Sir Henry by James Tissot appeared in Vanity Fair in 1871.

Sir Henry Cole

Sir Henry used to hand write greetings to his family and friends on sheets of paper decorated with Christmas themes but decided he had too many to do so he commissioned 1,000 hand-coloured cards to be printed by London artist John Calcott Horsley. Sir Henry wanted something that would be suitable for everyone so Horsley designed a triptych with scenes on each of the side panels depicting the charitable essence of Christmas: feeding the poor and clothing the homeless. In the centre was the message “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To You” (the message that is still today the standard Christmas card sentiment) under a beautiful drawing of a family toasting the season. And remember – Horsley hand coloured each one!

 

Henry Cole Christmas Card

Sir Henry sent half the cards personally and 500 were sold for the then huge price of one shilling each (probably a week’s wage for the average person). Only about nine have survived and today they can sell for thousands of pounds at auction. Due to the cost involved exchanging cards started out as something only the wealthy could afford to do.

Later, during the Victorian period cards were illustrated with gorgeous intricate designs and vivid colours, often hand-painted and from around the 1860’s a process known as chromolithography produced cards with colours so intense they rival anything produced today. By the 1880’s Christmas cards had verses inside and started to show more seasonal images.

The practice of sending cards caught on in England aided by the Postal Act of 1840, which allowed a piece of mail to be sent anywhere in the United Kingdom for just one penny. Strangely enough Sir Henry himself was involved in establishing this better postal system and creating the first self-adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black (he provided the sketch of Queen Victoria used on the stamp).

The start of a cheaper postal service in 1870 made it affordable for almost everyone to send cards and it became a true Christmas tradition.

The Edwardian era brought with it more Santa Claus-themed cards with robes of many different colours but it wasn’t until the 1930’s when the Coca-Cola Company adopted St.Nicholas (and fattened him up a bit!) to promote it’s drinks that he became synonymous with the red and white we know and love today!

If you love vintage Christmas cards do have a look at some of the images from Raphael Tuck & Sons, De La-Rue and Marcus Ward & Co. Here’s just a very few of our favourites!

 

 


Published by annie, on 11th December 2012 at 6:36 pm. Filled under: Christmas,Vintage Activities,Vintage Arts,Vintage Events,Vintage Local History Tags: , , Comments Off on It’s Christmas Card Time!