32¢ Victorian Wreath
Issue Date: October 15, 1998
City: Christmas, MI
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 11.3 x 11.7
In 19th-century England, the ornamental Victorian style of design adorned furniture, buildings, and decor. The style also influenced people’s lifestyles, and even their Christmas customs. The typical scene from a Victorian Christmas is a splendid array of gifts, happy children, and a candle-lit tree. Many of these Victorian customs were also popular in colonial America.
Displaying the Christmas tree became popular in England after 1841, when Prince Albert presented a decorated evergreen to Queen Victoria and the royal family. Although not a new practice, decorating the tree with fruit, nuts, candy, cookies, and trinkets was accepted by English people immediately.
On the streets of Victorian England, one would greet bell-ringers, carolers, and most importantly, toy-sellers. After seeing the peddler’s animated rabbits, walking dolls, and lifelike soldiers, children would hurry home and address a letter to Father Christmas.
Sending brilliantly colored greeting cards was popular among the English during this time, the custom having begun there. The first known Christmas card was produced by businessman Henry Cole in 1843 as a way to offer holiday greetings without having to write hundreds of personal messages.