Why are there Robins on Victorian Christmas Cards?


Meredith Sweetpea spent the evening by her fire handwriting out her Christmas cards and began to ponder why Victorians favored robins on their Christmas cards.

It turns out that in Victorian England, the postmen wore red uniforms and were often called “robins.” And in some of the first Christmas cards those “robins” were depicted delivering holiday mail.

The robin motif took off and became one of the most popular for holiday cards. It is officially known as the European Robin and often called the Robin Redbreast. Both the male and female birds have a distinctive orange-colored breast.

Supposedly the first Christmas card was created and printed by John Calcott Horsley in England, an idea given to him by Sir Henry Cole who wanted a card by which he could send holiday greetings to his friends and business contacts. So, a thousand cards were printed and sold for a shilling apiece, the first one being sent by Sir Henry Cole himself, a wealthy businessman.

The first card showed a typical English family enjoying the holidays. Other popular themes included people performing charitable acts, because this was a great part of the Victorian holiday customs. In the 19th century in England, Christmas cards were delivered on Christmas morning.

Get your cards into the mail!

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