If I write the words “Victorian Christmas card,” what springs to mind? Perhaps a convivial cast of Dickens-esque characters enjoying carols round the tree or sitting at a banquet table with a flaming plum pudding. Or maybe you think of turn-of-the-century whimsy, with beribboned kittens and rosy-cheeked children. But how about ice skating frogs who have lost both their footing and their pipes, all in a row?
Welcome to the wacky world of Victorian novelty cards where beetles dance with frogs while some winged thing shakes a tambourine.
Then again, nothing says holiday cheer like traveling bee and beetle musicians in a wintry landscape. Their walking sticks are a nice touch.
Strange these cards may be, but stranger still are the dead bird postcards. No kidding; I have seen more than one Victorian holiday card that features a dead bird lying on its back, little feet cocked in the air, a cheery Christmas message written below.
I decided not to “send” you any of those. You can thank me later.