Jenny Nystrom was a Swedish artist born in 1854. She was known as the woman who created the Scandinavian image of Christmas, with her numerous Scandinavian Christmas cards and magazine covers. She gave Sweden the festive image of, Christmas gifts and the Christmas tree.
Jenny linked the Swedish version of Santa Claus to the gnomes of Scandinavian folklore. Many of her Christmas paintings, featured the Scandinavian gnomes and Santa Claus in his original green coat. Children also featured heavily as a subject of her beautiful and fun Christmas painted scenes.
These antique Christmas cards also reflect the wintery scenes of Scandinavia with lots of deep snow!
The Danish for merry Christmas is “glædelig jul“, whereas in Swedish and Norwegian it is “God Jul“.
As well as Scandinavian Christmas cards, I love Scandinavian Christmas decorations, there is a great round-up of Scandinavian Christmas crafts on Pillarboxblue.
To download the antique Scandinavian Christmas cards just click on the highlighted title and a pdf will download to your computer immediately.
The PDF downloaded vintage Scandinavian Christmas cards will be of a higher resolution than the images below.
The Vintage Scandinavian Christmas Cards
This antique Christmas card was held at the Norwegian National Library. However, the greeting on the card “Glædelig Jul!” is the Danish for Merry Christmas.
The Norwegian is God Jul. So I presume that this was a Christmas card sent from someone in Denmark to someone in Norway. The Christmas elves on the front look very Scandinavian and maybe that’s a basket of “Danish” pastries they are carrying!
Another Christmas card with the Danish seasonal greeting “Glædelig Jul!”, which translates as Merry Christmas. This time it is of a Danish boy holding a model of a Scandinavian Church.
This is a lovely vintage Scandinavian Christmas card by the artist Jenny Nystrom. Painted somewhere in the early 1890s.
This is a lovely winter scene, showing two children feeding the birds.
Not sure of the date of this Jenny Nystrom card. It shows Santa feeding a goat. Interestingly Santa is wearing a green coat and not red. Santa always used to wear green until the advertising executives of Coca Cola gave him a red makeover.
What a delightfully happy festive scene. Excited children dancing around the Christmas tree, painted in 1896. Note the flags on the Christmas tree, it is a tradition to decorate the tree with flags in Scandinavian countries.
Another delightful scene of children with birds, this time they are spying on them! Including the Christmas card classic bird the robin. The way the card is painted it looks like a snow globe.
Another Scandinavian vintage Christmas card with a painting of Santa showing him in his original green coat. Before the Coca-Cola update to a red coat in the 1930s!
This is a cheeky Christmas card, showing a boy in traditional dress. He’s armed and dangerous ready for a serious snowball fight.
It is also a rare Jenny Nystrom card with the greeting written in English. Rather than one of the usual Scandinavian languages on her antique Christmas cards. This card was painted in 1914.
This Christmas card features a gnome hard at work. Scandinavian gnomes are one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore. They are called “nisse” in Danish and Norwegian, and “tomte” in Swedish.
Nisse is typically associated with winter and Christmas. They are generally are short, with a long white beard and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color. They often have an appearance somewhat similar to that of a garden gnome.
Scandinavian gnomes have been a very popular theme for Christmas crafts and decorations over the last couple of years, and not just in Scandinavia.
A lovely card with a more religious feel as it features an angel and cherubs. This card is dated from 1913.
This is a jolly Scandinavian card with a jolly snowman on the front. The Danish for snowman is “snemand“, Swedish “snögubbe“. Whereas the Norwegian is very similar to English, “snømann“
I think these lovely vintage Scandinavian Christmas cards would make a fabulous display at Christmas. You could print and frame them.
However, I think they would make a gorgeous festive garland, strung up like bunting. Or you could easily get these images printed onto your own Christmas cards to send to your friends and relatives.
Gnomes are a popular subject in these Christmas cards, you can find more vintage illustrations of Scandinavian gnomes here.
If you like this post you may also like the free vintage maps of Northern Europe and maps of Norway to download.
These Christmas cards would be great to use in the making of Christmas ornaments like these upcycled tin can ornaments.