First Foot!

Holidays

We made it! 2020 is officially over, and I hope you spent the last hours of that year in a joyful atmosphere. 🎉🎉 But have you paid attention to who crossed your threshold first this year? Your whole 2021 may depend on it! According to an old Scottish tradition, called ‘First Foot’, the first person who enters your household after midnight foretells the fortune for the new year. The best candidates are dark-haired men bearing small gifts, as they are a sign of prosperity and good luck. Fair-haired men are not as good apparently, and seen as a bad omen. 😱

While the tradition can still be observed today, it was especially popular in the Victorian era, as the Queen was in love with everything Scottish and popularized Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) traditions among her subjects. During the time, the midnight guests were expected to bring such symbolic gifts as whiskey, coal, shortbread, spices, and black bun. 🥃🍪

Dead Birds & Christmas Cards

Christmas

The holiday season is upon us, which also means some delightful colorful cards in many households. 🎄 The tradition of sending holiday cards was also alive and well in the 19th century and the Victorians are well-known for their outlandish Christmas cards usually featuring a variety of critters from moths 🦋 through frogs 🐸 to … dead birds. 🐦☠️

The lifeless bodies of little wrens or robins were a popular design choice, although it might be difficult to imagine today how they were supposed to boost the festive spirit. Apparently, this quirky tradition might have its roots in a more morbid one, in which killing a wren or a robin was deemed a good-luck charm for the new year. 🍀

Luckily, the Victorians decided to treat this one more symbolically, and following their footsteps I’m giving you my watercolor interpretation of the theme along with my best wishes for the holidays and 2021. 💜🎉 Do you have any favorite vintage card designs?