Every year I tell myself that I am going to send out holiday greetings cards, but I never get around to it. I came across this website where you can send e-cards with images of old Soviet holiday cards. If some enterprising person were to reproduce an actual set of these, I would totally buy them so I could mail them to my friends. Not that I’m advocating a revival of the Soviet Union, but I’d love to see the perplexed looks on their faces when they pull the card out of the envelope and see Cyrillic characters with a big jolly Communist Santa.
Here are a few of my favorite cards…most of them are actually New Year’s cards (C Новым Годом – S Novim Godom):
Rockets and space exploration are popular themes for Soviet New Year cards.
“Happy New Year! This missile is headed straight for those capitalist pigs in Washington!”
Gotta represent labor and heavy industry, of course. But, uh, is that a Gulag at the top? There are two watch towers, and what look like barracks, so I’m not quite sure.
Think of our glorious Red Army soldiers serving abroad, crushing nascent democratic forces throughout Eastern Europe.
Yep, another rocket.
Yeah, yeah, you have a space program…yes, you sent the first man into space…WE GET IT ALREADY.
Soviet power Santa, holding a Pentagon in the air emblazoned with CCCP. The DoD Pentagon? Perhaps.
OMG! The rocket is headed straight for Santa!
The poor little kid, he has to work in a factory on New Year’s Eve.
I have no idea what is going on here.
I love this one. Apparently, when Santa isn’t delivering presents, he serves as a supervisor for Glavtransneft, the Soviet Ministry of Oil’s Department for Oil Transportation and Supplies. Here, Santa supervises an oil worker in the repair of a broken pipeline, thus preventing a major oil spill in Siberia that would have spoiled the upcoming snowman competition. Way to go, Santa.
Another great one…here, Santa has an old-style radio hanging from his neck, and is holding a Christmas tree with a big red star on the top, thus proving that Santa is a true Bolshevik.
Update: Here are two more, sent to me by Csaba, a friend of mine from Hungary. These are scans of cards that his father sent to him and his brother when he was in the USSR.
In this New Year’s card, Santa appears to be coaxing a snake out of a box labeled “1989.” This particular snake is also wearing a crown, and batting its eyelashes, which makes me think that the snake is flirting with Santa. Definitely one of the oddest New Year’s cards I’ve ever seen.
This card is definitely geared towards children. There are a variety of children’s cartoon/fairy tale characters following Santa’s sleigh, which is apparently pulled by a mere boy and his pony rather than a group of reindeer. (Poor Rudolph, methinks he got the pink slip from the human resources department at the North Pole!) I’m not really sure what that boy is holding in his hand, but it looks like a glowing feather of some sorts. Also, what is Puss ‘n Boots holding hands with? Is that an orange wearing an ushanka?
Honestly, wouldn’t you love to receive some of these holiday cards?