A Victorian Creepy Christmas

Christmas in the Woods an illustration by W. Philip Vinton Clayton for the story or poem by Henry Clayton Hopkins, 1917. So this isn’t technically Victorian (or even Edwardian) but that possum though. The face on it.


I’m not sure if this mouse is riding the crayfish but I wouldn’t be surprised because animals riding other animals is a common sight in illustrations from the Golden Age.

Not sure what that note says but it can’t be good.

Are these images to assuage the guilt of eating things? The discomfort of sitting at the top of the food chain? Or are they simply funny? This one reminds me of Beatrix Potter’s most disturbing book for children, so I don’t think it’s meant to be disturbing, honestly.

Plum puddings frequently get the personification treatment. Is this because plum puddings are rich and are likely to repeat on anyone used to a more simple diet? Is it the alcohol that goes into them? What?

The creepiest thing of all: The admixture of food items which were never alive and actual animals who are about to be… not alive anymore. Plus the chop, which was perhaps a pig or a cow, except for some reason the artist has decided to illustrate with a chop.

Smacks of cannibalism.

Here’s personification of a pine cone, but it seems to be crying? Because Santa is stuffing it into a sack? And Santa is also a pine cone, so I guess there’s a parallel world in which each natural item has its own Christmas tradition.

Dead birds on Victorian Christmas greeting cards is a whole thing. Perhaps they are thinking about Jesus.

It’s often a robin (because of its Christmassy red breast?). But not this time.

Revenge, I think. And if you were trying to find your matches, I think I know where they went.

Then there’s the violence. Oh, the violence.

Police work gets more intense around Christmas time. This has always been the case, methinks.

Is this a threat to the receiver of the card? I can’t see any other interpretation, sorry.

Victorian Christmas card Louis Wain

The most aggressive part of this card is the full-stop.

Did people pose their dogs with their guns? (More illustrations of hunting dogs.)

Someone went looking for Santa. Or maybe this is Santa.


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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