HOLIDAY STORIES ON THE POSTCARDS OF DELTIOLOGISTS

New Year, Christmas…. Holidays, which present abandoned hilarity and a feeling of the sweets of life… Aroma of pine needles, mandarins and chocolate, scattering sparks of Bengal lights, shine of ornaments for a Christmas tree and hundreds, tens of pairs of eyes… On the postcards of Vladimir
New Year, Christmas…. Holidays, which present abandoned hilarity and a feeling of the sweets of life… Aroma of pine needles, mandarins and chocolate, scattering sparks of Bengal lights, shine of ornaments for a Christmas tree and hundreds, tens of pairs of eyes…

On the postcards of Vladimir.

Likhodedov, which have become rare long ago, these moments are imprinted

Several years ago the first Christmas postcard was sold at the auction. A lot flew away at a high price, which wasn’t even forecasted by experts. Judging by a stamp, a carton of the size 5 by 3 inches was sent in 1843. Today each deltiologist knows the history of this postcard: in the ХIХth century a well-doing family man and an English businessman Sir Henry Cole decided to make a Christmas surprise to his grandmother. A postcard pictures a Christmas dinner, three generations of one family enjoy mutual pastime. According to a legend, a London illustrator John Horsley painted there a family of Sir Henry.

Surely, Englishmen painted greeting cards earlier, but this original postcard was the first to be produced for sale. It cost just a shilling, though in England of that time it equalled an average weekly salary. However, the British weren’t embarrassed by the price, and a thousand of postcards flew away on the eve of Christmas at a stroke. Only 12 of them “survived” until our time.

There are so few constant things in the world, as it was fairly noted by a philosopher, an exclusion is human traditions and relations. Electronic mail has recently intruded into our modern rhythm, and somebody is probably to say that a tradition to send greeting cards now turns into anachronism. And he will be right. However, let us confess, how glad are we, when a postman brings catchy New Year postcards to our house. And there are only several warm and sincere words from relatives and friends, they are diligently depicted by a pen and are addressed to you...

It is known that in the second half of the XIXth century greeting cards started their cortege over Europe. Religious topics prevailed on them, most often a Christ child in a creche was pictured. And in the end of the century on New Year postcards ruled the so-called Russian style with churches, snow-covered huts and a fuming chimney on the roof, three varmint horses and natty peasant children.

Diversity of “greeting cards”, existing at that time — big and tiny, beaded and even wooden, sounding and even smelling — strikes. And such colored cartons were real masterpieces — they were decorated with spangles (or colored powdered glass crumb), and “snow” was sometimes made of boracic acid or sugar, which looked almost as real snow. In the Soviet times New Year postcards remained a part of interior for long, they were used as decorations for caskets, photo albums and private diaries. And a modern video line, consisting of collection postcards of a famous deltiologist Vladimir Likhodedov is a proof. Probably, it should be like this, Christmas is a holiday, which is awaited by both adults and children. It enwombed magic, made a man believe in wonders. Maiden fortunetelling, ritual games, belief in dreams...

Emotions of a man have always found reflection in things and works of art. Including also postcards. Everytime one looks narrowly at these winter stories, it seems that they are surprisingly familiar. Yes-yes! That joyful Santa Claus from a postcard has once come to your house...

Zhanna Vasanskaya.
Cards from collection
of Vladimir Likhodedov
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