Friday, 23 December 2016

Postcards for the Weekend – Holidays (2)

2016-12-18--23 Christmas corner

Quite a few more Season’s Greetings cards have kept dropping in since last weekend! Both postcrossing ones and from old friends. Folded cards that can stand for themselves are displayed on my bookshelves; the flat cards I hang on red ribbons on the corner next to the door into my study (attaching them with miniature clothes-pegs bought in a hobby crafts shop). I’ll just pick a few more or less at random to show here.


161221 DE-5817164
DE-5817164 – From Bonn in Germany:
Altes Rathaus – Old Town Hall


161221  from Jarina
From a new friend in The Netherlands:
’The Snow Fairies’ by
Molly Brett (1902-1990)

I don’t think I ever heard of this English illustrator and children’s author before. I shall have to investigate a bit more! But the Wiki article tells me she also illustrated some stories by Enid Blyton.


161223 från Marita V (Jenny_Nyström)
From an old friend in Sweden:
A traditional Swedish card by
Jenny Nyström (1854-1946)
with both ‘julbock’ (‘Yule goat’) and ‘jultomte’ (‘Santa’).

Jenny Nyström is known as the painter and illustrator who actually created the ‘modern’ Swedish image of the jultomte on numerous Christmas cards and magazine covers. What she did was to link the European Santa Claus /St. Nicolas traditions to the ‘tomte’ or gnomes of the older Scandinavian folklore. These were usually described as smaller than humans, having a long white beards, and wearing a conical or knit cap. They were often supposed to live in the barn or stable and could be helpful around the farm if treated well – but very mischievous if not. So hence a tradition (perhaps still in the countryside? I don’t really know) to put out a bowl of porridge for the tomte on Christmas Eve.

Before the tomte got assigned the mission of delivering Christmas gifts here in Scandinavia, this task could instead be done by the Yule Goat. Or else, people would go visiting their neighbours and knock on the door, and throw in the gifts anonymously. The card above I think is a perfect illustration of how Jenny Nyström managed to blend all the traditions together.

Over the years, the Swedish jultomte traditions have become more and more mixed up with the American Santa Claus. But here in Sweden he still comes visiting on Christmas Eve – and usually (at least where there are children!) he comes on foot, knocks on the door, and delivers the presents in person. (I suppose he saves the reindeer for the flights across the Atlantic…)

161222 från Anny

From a truly old old friend in Sweden… I think I dare say so now, as she is now 98. I got to know her through church in the town where I lived back in my twenties. In my eyes back then, she was already in the “old” generation in the church… Doing the math now, I realize that when I first got to know her, she was younger than I am now! (Ouch! Belated apologies…) It’s been a long time since we last met, but we still write Christmas cards, and the occasional postcard at other times as well. Still her own handwriting on the back of the cards!

God Jul!

Weekend Linky Party:


  1. What lovely cards, I love the Christmas goat! When I was a young girl of 7 meeting my grandmother for the first time I told my Mother I thought she was awful old and I never wanted to get that old. I'm now 19 years older than my grandmother was then.

  2. Your apartment looks so pretty and festive. And these cards really are unique and so interesting to look at! The first one with the moon is just beautiful! And I do love the dancing snow fairies. They are not dressed for the weather at all, but maybe snow fairies do not ever get cold. I do not remember hearing about the goat! I wonder why it is a goat specifically...

  3. Lovely cards. There has been quite of talk around here lately about the yule goat.

  4. Your flat looks always nice, Monica, and I love the glimpses you're offering here. Of course I have found "my" card :-)

    How wonderful that the 98-year-old lady still writes Christmas cards! Who knows what we'll be like at that age - if we reach it at all.
    When I look at old school photos of myself from the 1980s, when I was in my teens, I see my teacher as a really young woman. She must have been around 10-15 years younger than I am now, but back then, she was as "adult" as all the others - no difference to me between, say, 30 and 55. After that, and especially if they had white hair, people were "old" in my eyes.

  5. I love the tomte-and-goat card! Beautiful illustration, but also an interesting theme for me. Thank you for explaining about it, so far I had never heard of this tradition.
    Here in the Netherlands it was/is Saint Nicolaas who brings presents, on a totally different day, 5th of December (his birthday and he is said to be over 300 years old :-) ). He's riding on a white horse over roofs and helped by his Petes to deliver the presents.
    But also here the American Santa (and his sleigh and Rudolph the reindeer) is taking over, at least on seasons greetings cards.

  6. I love all of these, my favorite is the goat but the tree in the Netherlands almost made the top spot. so beautiful. I laughed when I read your story about the lady being younger than you are now. I recently realized when I thought my mother was OLD when we moved to Kentucky, she was only 39, I was 10. and that led to others bob and I talked about that we used to think they were old...

  7. Lovely cards - I especially like the Jenny Nyström one. I haven't scanned this year's ones in yet. Perhaps |i'll manage it before Christmas 2017!

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments! There is more info on the Yule Goat at Wikipedia for those who are interested :)

  9. All the cards are very beautiful...

    Please visit:

  10. I, too, love the Jenny Nyström card. Jultomte looks a great deal more svelte than Father Christmas.

  11. God Jul, Monica! Thanks so much for sharing your display presentation of folded and flat cards in your home. Very admirable indeed! The Swedish & Finnish illustrated postcards are very nice. I always find that these two countries have very good illustrators! Happy holidays :D


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