A Christmas truce on the Western Front

In an otherwise devastatingly violent and inhumane war, the Christmas truce was a series of widespread and spontaneous truces that arose along the Western Front in 1914. Becoming one of the most famous and romanticized events of the First World War, it is said that enemies met in no man’s land, exchanged gifts, took photographs, and played impromptu games of football. In the hundred years since, the truce has lived on as a Christmas miracle. But what was a Christmas truce really like- and how widespread was it actually?

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“Happy Christmas from the colours”: World War I regimental Christmas cards

[Regimental Christmas card, unknown battalion]c.1915. Canadian Centre for the Great War
[Regimental Christmas card, unknown battalion]c.1915. Canadian Centre for the Great War
Around the Christmas season, exchanging Christmas cards is one of the many ways that we connect to the people we haven’t spoken to in a while, or the businesses that have provided services to us during the rest of the year. In fact, the Christmas card industry is a multi-million dollar one, almost as lucrative as Valentine’s Day for businesses like Hallmark. Exchanging Christmas cards first began in Victorian England in the 1840s, and was in some ways an offshoot of the postcard craze that swept the English middle class at around the same time. According to Tony Allen, author of the website worldwar1postcards.com, the first card was produced by the artist John Horsley and commercially reproduced for the Christmas of 1840. From there, Christmas cards and the business of making them took off like wildfire, with families across England sending cards to their acquaintances and businesses making use of cards as an alternate form of advertising their services. Continue reading ““Happy Christmas from the colours”: World War I regimental Christmas cards”