This old postcard shows a vintage Santa Claus from Victorian days with a small boy in front of the Christmas tree. Santa’s bag is packed with toys, so it must be Christmas Eve!
The colors in this old postcard are very bright, with reds, blues, gold, and silver making it a beautiful card. But, study this card a bit and you will see a a Victorian Santa Claus on a definite mission, that we no longer see in the Santa Claus images of today.
In Victorian times, say up till 1910 or so, children were to be seen and not heard. Most families disciplined children quite strictly to follow the governing rules of correct Victorian behavior and manners.
But, children will be children, then and now, they will argue and fight, doing what children will do. However, come Christmas time in the late 1800s or early 1900s, all children would be on best behavior knowing that Santa was keeping a list of who was naughty and who was nice.
In the Victorian days of this postcard, Santa Claus was no pushover. He had the list and He KNEW… So, you better have a good story if you were on the naughty list.
Now, look at the picture again. Santa is holding a switch (often used to spank children in those days). The expression on Santa’s face is not that of the happy, laughing Santa of the 1940’s onward, but looks rather serious. Now, notice the little boy. His hands are as if in prayer. Is he pleading his case with Santa? Will he get a toy or get the switch? Let that be a lesson to you, says this Victorian postcard with all its beautiful colors.
Having been a child in the 1960s, I was aware of the list. But, our Santa was big, jolly, and laughing, so I was not too worried. I sure am glad that Santa Claus got more jolly over the years and more forgiving! ~ M.P.