Vintage Soviet Christmas Cards
December 20, 2007 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Vintage Soviet-era Christmas Cards. They're certainly cheerful! (via)
posted by Jimbob (43 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I forget, are we looking at these fearfully, with ironic detachment, or with nostalgic sentimentality?

I like these!
posted by mazola at 8:22 PM on December 20, 2007


I'm guessing you're being sarcastic, but, well, that is the only image that isn't super cheerful. All the rest are totally cute and fun. I think they're great. Nice link, thanks.
posted by JBennett at 8:22 PM on December 20, 2007


Are there any that don't either feature space travel or aircraft? I suppose the alternative is baby jesus et al.
posted by mattoxic at 8:25 PM on December 20, 2007


Yeah, I guess I did pick the most depressing one to highlight. I guess it just looked like the perfect thing to send to your most-hated aunt.
posted by Jimbob at 8:32 PM on December 20, 2007


I love the space imagery (especially over baby jebus or Santa [an invention of Coca Cola]!

We as a nation* species must regain that enthusiasm for space travel.

*whatever the nation, but it's nations that have the resources to fund space exploration, X-Prize and millionaire engineers/geek-financiers notwithstanding
posted by porpoise at 8:33 PM on December 20, 2007


These are New Year's cards, FWIW.
posted by ORthey at 8:33 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are there any that don't either feature space travel or aircraft?

I'm sure there are plenty that don't feature space travel or aircraft, that's just the theme of this image gallery. It's like asking, are there any Soviet propaganda posters that don't either feature sickles and hammers or craggy men staring resolutely into the distance?

Answer: yes
posted by tepidmonkey at 8:38 PM on December 20, 2007


And appropriately-enjoyable christmas to you too!
posted by pompomtom at 8:40 PM on December 20, 2007


Speaking of Christmas greetings, I thought this was pretty funny.
To My Democrat Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:48 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Don't you mean:

To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Did you hear they won't let Santas say Ho! Ho! Ho! anymore, and public school ban our children from singing Christmas carols!
posted by Jimbob at 8:51 PM on December 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Jimbob, I didn't write it. What I meant to do was quote the original author, and that's what I did.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:13 PM on December 20, 2007


Oh, I know. I just think my version is more fair and balanced ;)
posted by Jimbob at 9:16 PM on December 20, 2007


Hey now.

It appears as if these are meant to celebrate the Soviet space system. Those losers.
posted by dhammond at 9:19 PM on December 20, 2007


These are beautiful and hilarious - thanks, Jimbob.

(Steven, you should know the pajamas folks cut out the "To my Libertarian friends" section that's the third part of every one of those moronic emails I've gotten - funny, that.)
posted by mediareport at 9:26 PM on December 20, 2007


Ha! I was just looking for something fun and Christmasy to email people. This commiepasta is perfect.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:40 PM on December 20, 2007


Hey, Russians don't have the corner on the occasional dry Xmas greeting -- this, from the same website, which features much more holiday postcards from days gone by.

Thanks Jimbob!
posted by not_on_display at 9:52 PM on December 20, 2007


much many
/end embarrassment over nothing

posted by not_on_display at 9:53 PM on December 20, 2007


To my Republican Friends:
Feliz Navidad!
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:03 PM on December 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


These are not Christmas cards as there was no Soviet-era christmas. These are New Year's cards.
posted by dminor at 10:19 PM on December 20, 2007


These are marvelous, thank you!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:59 PM on December 20, 2007


These are not Christmas cards

And the guy in the red suit in the rocket-pulled sleigh is not Santa.

We get it already.
posted by mediareport at 11:09 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


And the guy in the red suit in the rocket-pulled sleigh is not Santa.


Oh, I think we all know who that "jolly old elf" really is, deep in our hearts...
via flapjax, of course
posted by maryh at 12:48 AM on December 21, 2007


Santa leads the Elf Spetznaz on a social warfare mission against counter-revolutionary present double-wrappers.
posted by Abiezer at 1:56 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


To comment on this, I gotta share just a little bit of my personal life with you. Up until this year, I've found Christmas and New Year's to be a wonderful time. I knew lots of folks found it depressing, but I never really understood that. But this November, my life fell the fuck apart and I've at last come to know the crushing, impossible depression that the holidays can carry when your world has gone All Wrong.

With that in mind, I've done as much as I can to avoid the trappings of Christmas. I keep the radio off so I won't risk hearing carols. I don't look at lights or decorations, and there certainly aren't any up in my apartment. I've not purchased any presents or watched any holiday specials. On the 25th, I'll be at my job and feeling what amounts to delight nowadays to be there. In every way that matters, Christmas is pretty much canceled for me.

But I can't pass up Soviet-era art, it's just not possible. And I'm glad I clicked the link, because this is the first, indeed, the only bit of Holiday I've encountered in 2007 that's made me smile.

Santa's. fucking. rocket sled. Awesome. Thank you, Jimbob.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:00 AM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Off the Christmas-or-maybe-not subject, but the Rooskies sure did know what spaceships ought to look like. While everybody else gave us a boring surfeit of form-follows-function, the stuff with CCCP on the side could have blasted right off the cover of any 1932 issue of Weird Tales. The wonderful casserole-with-eyestalks Lunokhod moon rover is high on the personal greatest-hits list.
posted by jfuller at 3:35 AM on December 21, 2007


craggy men staring resolutely into the distance

tepidmonkey, my understanding is that they are boldly looking into the future.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:40 AM on December 21, 2007


This is great. My favourite is the little kid with the yellow-starred jump suit and the CCCP Helmet while the space ships dock in the background.

I am a sucker for the aesthetic of that era's propaganda pictures and to cross this with Christmas/New year cards makes it even better.

Thanks Jimbob.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:09 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Christmas greetings, I thought this was pretty funny.

Yeah, you would.

What's not cheery about spaceships flying past the moon? I think it's awesome. Colors could use a little work, though.
posted by DU at 4:39 AM on December 21, 2007


I love this. I'm bookmarking, and next year I'll print off a bunch of these instead of buying cards. Space Santa. What could be better??
posted by Kellydamnit at 4:40 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why do Santa and his elves bring Christmas trees with them? Is this some kind of shortage thing?
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:41 AM on December 21, 2007


These are fantastic! Thanks!
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:19 AM on December 21, 2007


I'm pretty rusty on this, but as I recall, in the Soviet Union, Christmas, as such, wasn't the big deal that New Year's was (after all, it had its basis in the observance of a religious festival) and that the Santa Claus character was known as "Grandfather Frost" -- could some helpful Russkiy MeFi'er or two elaborate a bit?
posted by pax digita at 6:20 AM on December 21, 2007


From this article about Lenin's decision to ban Christmas (site photos of models in bikinis possibly NSFW, so here's most of it):

The Christmas tree and the midnight dinner of New Year's Eve, traditional in tsarist times, were banned by the atheistic Bolshevik regime of 1925, banished as "bourgeois" symbols. Ten years later, the New Year's tree was rehabilitated by Stalin, although celebrations marking the birth of Christ -- on the night of 6-7 January in Orthodox tradition -- would officially not take place again until the Soviet collapse of 1991.

In 1937, at the height of Stalin's repressions, a gigantic fir tree topped with a red star was installed for the first time in the center of Moscow. The first decorations displayed portraits of Lenin and Stalin, starting a tradition of a politically-charged New Year festival. In 1937 the people's commissariat for education published a book entitled "The New Year at the nursery school", prescribed that the fir tree "crowned with a red star... symbolizing a radiant and happy childhood made possible thanks to the (Communist) Party."

Even if New Year's Day was relatively unpoliticized compared to other national holidays, "each historical or political twist found its illustration in the tree decorations," said political analyst Boris Kagarlitsky. During World War II, trees were decorated with small tanks, guns, parachutists and rescue dogs. Shortages forced Soviet citizens to learn to make decorations themselves by repainting worn bulbs or soaking objects in a solution soaked with salt to create a snow crystal effect.

The designers of Soviet decorations watched the preferences of their leader closely, producing hockey players or circus acrobats as soon as Stalin evoked these professions in his speeches. Then in the reign of his agriculture-obsessed successor, Nikita Khrushchev, the first corn-ear baubles appeared on New Year's trees. The exploration of space gave life to innumerable cosmonaut decorations -- echoing the angels of the Christian Christmas tree -- as well as Soviet Sputniks and miniature rockets. Decorations representing bundled up polar explorers and polar bears were another Soviet favorite.

With the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, factories making decorations found themselves without government orders or Party guidance, and were forced to take their cues from the market. For the most part that led them to Western-style decorations. But now nostalgia for Soviet kitsch is leading some back to the traditional Soviet designs of so many Russian childhoods.

posted by mediareport at 6:56 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oops, Lenin died in 1924, so it wasn't his decision. Sorry.
posted by mediareport at 6:58 AM on December 21, 2007


Someone simply must Photoshop Jar Jar into this one.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:05 AM on December 21, 2007


Great post, many thanks!

Oops, Lenin died in 1924, so it wasn't his decision. Sorry.

And he hadn't been doing anything but sit in his wheelchair in Gorky and glare at the world since his massive stroke on March 10, 1923, "which robbed him of the power of speech: until his death ten months later, he could utter only such monosyllables as vot-vot ('here-here') and s"ezd-s"ezd ('congress-congress')" (Richard Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 479).


Hang in there, EatTheWeak—it'll get better.
posted by languagehat at 7:11 AM on December 21, 2007


mediareport, that's both helpful and mildly eponysterical -- thx!

Makes me imagine New Year's trees in the officers' clubs at Petropavlovsk and Polyarnyy were decorated with tiny Soviet Navy submarines...like with EatTheWeak, I'll do anything to make myself smile over the holidays...
posted by pax digita at 7:27 AM on December 21, 2007


In Soviet Russia, New Years cards send you!
posted by ba at 8:10 AM on December 21, 2007


Speaking of Santa and his rocket-sled: Off in the Christmas Cosmos (vaguely related)
posted by blue_beetle at 9:30 AM on December 21, 2007


[A footnote regarding the Coca-Cola/Santa thing: Not true.]
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:02 AM on December 21, 2007


Speaking of Christmas greetings, I thought this was pretty funny.

I get it! It's funny because the implication is that Democrats are prickly but Republicans are not! Only people who were worse than Hitler wouldn't agree with you that it's completely funny!

Did you know that white people dance like this, but black people dance like that?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2007


thank you, languagehat.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:29 PM on December 21, 2007


Steven C. Den Bestem I've been sending that message since 1998.

To my dear friends, and mere acquaintances,

Please accept with toungue planted firmly in cheek, and with no obligation,
implied or implicit my best wishes for an environmentally conscious,
socially responsible, low stress,non-addictive, gender neutral celebration
of the winter solstice
holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the
religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your
choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or
traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or
secular traditions at all...and a fiscally successful, personally
fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset
of the generally accepted calendar year 1999, but not without due
respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose
contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to
imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the
only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race,
creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer
platform, or sexual
preference of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms)
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no
promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for
her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is
revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to
perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings
for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday
greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of
this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Normal disclosures:
Void where prohibited by law, Don't swing that; you'll put someone's eye
out, Never run with scissors. cut along dotted line, objects may appear
closer than you think, No talking during the movie, Please hold on to your
children when using escalator, No smoking near oxygen, Only you can
prevent forrest fires, Meat is murder, Fur Kills, Eggs make eggnog.The
following preview is for all audiences, That's not how you do it, here let
me show you. My dog ate my homework, Its not
the heat its the humidity, Package may settle during shipment, Always wear
clean underwear. Never pet a strange dog.

Merry X-Mass, Bah Humbug, Happy Chanukka, Prayerful Ramadan, Happy Kwaanza,
Learn something new Next Year!
posted by Gungho at 7:40 PM on December 21, 2007


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