Tuesday 2 December 2014

My 860+ vintage Christmas cards ... and the one that made me cry.

Hello, ahoy, salutations, it's good to see you here.

And if that's not enough of a welcome for you then how about if I offer up 860 additional season's greetings to you?

OK then, here you go:
If you read my previous post [my 'Month in Numbers' for December] or if you've visited my Facebook page or Etsy shop lately you won't be able to avoid the images I've been sharing of all the original, unused, nostalgia inducing 1980s/70s Christmas cards I bought last month.

Many of the designs are now available to buy in my shop either as singles [for the most special of the illustrations amongst them] or in lucky dips packs of 5 or 10.

There's a whole 'Vintage Christmas Cards' section in the shop for them, so do have a browse. And if you opt for the lucky-dips to use in your December journal just think of it as buying a pack of retro design journaling cards, they're a similar price and they're meant to be written on!]

But I thought that here I'd share a few more photos and the story behind the haul ... including, later, the card that reduced me to tears [not that it takes a great deal to set me off!]. But let's start with the whys and wherefores, starting with how ...

I fell down a festive rabbit hole ...

I'd been browsing Ebay for 'vintage postal-themed ephemera' [because that's the kind of thing I do ...] when the phrase Job Lot 20kg Vintage 1970s/1980​s Christmas Cards caught my eye [well, it would, wouldn't it?].

And I pondered, and wondered, and debated. Yes, some original retro cards would make perfect additions to the Festive Junk Journals I'd had planned for months ... but 3 stone of them??? I wasn't so sure!

But then I realised that the seller was a registered charity ... and I decided that if I was going to be onating to a good cause then really, it wouldn't matter if I didn't sell any of them on or make a profit from them as the buying was a worthwhile thing in itself. 3 stone of old cards was just the fabulously nostalgic bi-product! And how often do we get guilt-free chances to indulge like that?!

So I bought them. A few days later ...

They were delivered in a box I could fit myself into ...

And when I opened it this was I saw:
They came wrapped in various plastic bags and black bin liners, all the designs bundled together, no order, rhyme or reason to any of it ... which is when my fondness for sorting things into neat piles got the better of me!
And it was while sorting them into piles that I came to realise that these weren't simply a mix of oddments that must have remained unsold form a shop back in the day ... no, there were actually multiples of many of the designs and, moreover, some were still wrapped inside brown-paper packages from the manufacturer!

Most of the packages had been opened, so you could see which card design was inside, but others - like this one - were still sealed!
I carefully opened this one ...
To reveal this big eyed pup - a Giordano Art illustration from 1987 [you can buy this design here]...
27 years ago, while I was starting secondary school, someone in a card factory packaged that up and posted it out to a shop where it must have been until ... I don't know ... I can only speculate:
  • until the shop closed down??
  • until the owner took all the cards home and put them I the loft??
  • until a son or daughter found it all while clearing out the family home??
  • until it was donated to a charity who put it on Ebay ...
  • until I bought it ...
... when I became the person to open it up after all this time!
After all the locations it must have been moved to and from; after all the history that's passed since it was sealed and after all the people who didn't know what to do with it ... it finally gets to be seen and appreciated by people like me [and whoever buys one].
Here are a few more designs you might like ... and which you might just recognise from Christmases past! 
There are some kitsch-tastic designs amongst the 800+:
... alongside many sweet illustrations like these too:

 And if, like me, too ever sent or received a card in the 70s/80s then there's plenty in the collection to give you that thrill of recognition!

Especially when you come across some familiar faces ...

... such as 'Bedtime Bear' Carebear:
... and the one and only Strawberry Shortcake!!!
... OR - and here's the one that made me cry - ...

... the very lovely Holly Hobbie:
So why did I cry when I unwrapped this one? Well ...

... in part it was because I had a Holly Hobbie doll back in the 80s [hey, who am I kidding? I still have my Holly Hobbie doll!]. And I've always loved dolls, and I didn't expect to see her, and suddenly there she was, looking splendid in her patchwork frock ... and it was nostalgic and cosy and lovely ... and ...

And yet the tears really spilled over when I looked at the greeting; because it's been a while since I had anyone who could send me a 'granddaughter' card.


But I didn't cry for long. How could I when, somehow I'd been sent this unexpected but lovely message in amongst 800+ others?!

I hope that in sharing the designs I'll have passed on some of that warm and cosy Christmas feeling to you.

And if reading this today makes you look in your loft to seek out those cards of your own you've saved over the years ... or if it stirs you to phone or visit those people who still send you 'granddaughter' cards ... then all the better.

Season's greetings to you.

Julie x


  1. Both lovely and sad. Sending hugs, and the offer of surrogate shares in my grandma - with the added advantage that she's one of those rare adults who could make you feel tall... ;)


  2. Thrill of recognition here, that's for sure. It was my beloved Auntie Ed who used to send the cards with "names" on, all the way from Bristol. Very special.

    I had a Holly Hobbie doll my Mum had made. And a notebook. Of course I had a notebook :)

    I love this. All three stone of it.

  3. I'm pretty sure I sent the first card to my Dad when I was little.....love the Care Bear one...and Holly Hobbie...I would have cried too!

  4. SAD SAM! Oh I used to love Sad Sam and his girlfriend Honey! Oh. Memories! And Bedtime Bear was always my favourite! Oh what a find. Holly Hobbie - I had the sticker album! Remember hat :D

    Love this post.

  5. Oh my, I recognise the styles of some of these. And I remember my DD and care bears ... Wonderful story-telling, Julie. What a special haul ...

  6. Note to self don't read a blog post (even one of Julie's fabulous stories) with a title about crying over breakfast! Lovely story and brought back lots of memories here of being a granddaughter (yelling happy Christmas down the phone every other year because my nana didn't want to waste the batteries in her heating aid!). And wishing I still had my Hollie Hobby patchwork handbag that was my pride and joy in 1980 :) thank you x

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