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Cards have traditional designs and typically depict St. Nicholas delivering presents. Religious and scenic imagery is also very popular.
The colourful Polish papercut art called Wycinanki heavily influences Christmas card designs in Poland. The strikingly bright cards often feature birds (peacocks and roosters), circular or star-shaped medallions, and flowers.
In Russia, you’ll find many cards displaying St Basil’s Cathedral, while Orthodox Christmas cards often portray the Virgin Mary holding Jesus.
Happy Christmas in Russian: ‘C рождеством’ – pronounced ‘rah-zh-dee-st-vohm’
Japanese Christmas cards are easy to spot, as they feature things the country is known for, such as geishas, temples, Mt. Fuji and cranes.
Happy Christmas in Japanese: ‘Meri Kurisumasu’
Vintage Norwegian Christmas cards usually depict children or the gnomes which help Father Christmas deliver presents.
Happy Christmas in Norwegian: ‘God Jul’
Christmas is becoming more important in China both in terms of a commercial gimmick and a cultural and religious festival. It is widely celebrated across society but has not reached the national fever pitch of the west and so is not yet a holiday. China’s younger generation in particular love to send Christmas cards – they tend to be cute and quirky, and they do love sending e-cards.
Similar to traditional German Christmas cards, Spanish cards are centred around children, Santa and religious artwork, such as the three wise men or angels/cherubs. They are typically boldly coloured.
Happy Christmas in Spanish: ‘Feliz Navidad’
The Dutch love Christmas cards and are said to be Europe’s champion Christmas card senders, with Dutch families sending more Christmas cards than any other European country. In The Netherlands there is a growing trend to design Christmas cards online and send them via traditional snail-mail.
The British are said to have started the Christmas card tradition in 1843 and have enjoyed sending Christmas cards ever since. Some of the original Victorian Christmas cards could be quite macabre but modern cards are very cheerful, colourful and glittery, they often have animals, children and Christmas trees featured on them. The Robin is a firm favourite.
Traditional Finnish Christmas cards often feature cutesy illustrations of Christmas gnomes/elves, Santa Claus and children.
Happy Christmas in Finnish: ‘Hyvää Joulua’
Sending Christmas cards is a big deal in Iceland, and they are supposed to say more than just ‘Happy Christmas’ – this is why vintage Icelandic cards feature well-wishing poems.
Happy Christmas in Icelandic: ‘Gleðileg Jól’
Korean Christmas cards reflect the country’s culture heavily, as they include children in traditional outfits, animals, traditional instruments and vintage Korean artwork. Happy Christmas in Korean: ‘Meri Krismas’
It’s fascinating to see different cultures reflected in these Christmas card designs. Which one is your favourite? Personally I am drawn towards the Scandinavian designs…but that could be because some of my blood is Norwegian! Merry Christmas.