We hope you enjoy our fourth annual showcase of vintage holiday greeting cards! This year’s cards, from our collection of hundreds, were sent or given to our co-founder, Hazel Alpaugh Astle, during the 1940 Christmas season.
December 25, 1940 was the second Christmas of World War II. With so many soldiers gone for the holiday, the season was much different than other years; with less men at home to cut down Christmas trees, for instance, the shortage of real trees led to a growth in sales of artificial ones. In a break with tradition, women dressed up as department store Santa Clauses. Rationing affected everything from holiday travel to holiday meal preparation.
But one thing that didn’t change was the tradition of mailing greeting cards. Hazel’s many 1940 Christmas cards–featuring iconic forties artwork and delicate cutaways–certainly remind us of how entrenched in American culture the Christmas season is and was, even during wartime. It’s worth noting that while many wartime Christmas cards featured patriotic images or sentiments, none are found in our collection.
Click on the images below to browse our 1940s holiday cards, or see below to enjoy other Christmas card showcases: