Activities: Make Your Own Victorian Christmas Cards
The first Christmas card was designed in 1843. It was a simple illustration with a seasonal greeting. The first cards were expensive, but by the late Victorian period Christmas cards became more affordable, creating a tradition and an industry that continues to this day.
This activity uses sharp tools. Children should be supervised.
You can download the templates to create your own Christmas cards. Choose one of the Christmas Card designs (T1 and T2) print and cut out. You could also use one of your own designs or you may have some old Christmas cards you wish to make use of for this.
You will also need a firm piece of card (approx 150 gsm), cut to the same size as your design.
If you use the same dimensions there is a pattern which includes the lace border edge (T4), otherwise print out (T3) for cards of different sizes.
Print out the Christmas card borders (T3), copy onto coloured card, and cut-out.
Before pin-pricking the lace borders you will need to find a thick cloth and place it over your work area. This will protect the surface and ensure the pin goes all the way through the card. You may find it easier to mark out the holes with a pen or pencil first, or use the template (T3) as a guide and lay it over the top of the card. Push your pin all the way through the card; you can use the round end of a spoon to help you do this.
Once you have made all the holes in the card it is time to stick the borders onto to the card you cut earlier. These may need cutting to size, depending on the dimensions of you design. Glue the borders onto the card, making sure they over-hang the edges slightly. Place your Christmas card design over the top, as per Fig. 1.
Finally, write your Christmas wishes in the space on the front of the card.
National Archives: Victorian Britain
History in Focus: The Victorian Era
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victorian Web
British Library: Online Exhibition: Victorian Britain
Pollock's Toy Museum