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Queen Victoria’s reign, starting in 1837, established the “Victorian Christmas”, with tree, presents, and the Christmas card. English writers and artists described the Royal family’s activities and presented to future generations an idealized vision of the Victorian Christmas as they would have liked it to be seen. Today, the English gift giver resembles the American Santa in dress and mode of transportation; but in mid-Victorian times he was a curious conglomeration of legend and reality known as Father Christmas.
So, dressed in his hood and habit and unable to agree with Clement C. Moore’s description of “St. Nick” the Victorian Father Christmas silently dispensed gifts on Christmas Eve, leaving the family to sleep, no doubt with visions of the day to come.
Victorian London abounded with shops selling German toys and other items for Christmas presents. The popular papier mache candy containers in the shape of Father Christmas would have been plentiful and readily available to the public.
This Vaillancourt version of a Victorian Father Christmas is dressed in a yellow coat, which was a common color of the popular candy container. The pomegranate coat pattern is based on the floral designs of early Christmas cards. The Christmas card, an English invention of 1843, started a phenomenon of epic proportions. The early Christmas cards, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, used a variety of nature themes, including birds and florals as well as the more familiar angel, nativity scene and Father Christmas.
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