Inside: A collection of Swedish Jenny Nystrom Christmas cards made for the Danish market; copy-right free and in the Public Domain.
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 idea 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 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.
The Vintage Danish Christmas Cards
Just click on the highlighted title to download the antique Scandinavian Christmas cards, 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.
1. Danish Christmas Elves 1913
This antique Christmas card was from 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 Scandinavian, and maybe that’s a basket of “Danish” pastries they carry!
2. Danish Boy Carrying Church – 1910
Another Christmas card with the Danish seasonal greeting, “Glædelig Jul!” translates as Merry Christmas. This time it is of a Danish boy holding a model of a Scandinavian Church.
3. Danish Children With Umbrella Card
A lovely vintage Scandinavian Christmas card painted somewhere in the early 1890s.
4. Children Feeding Birds – 1920
This is a lovely winter scene, showing two children feeding the birds.
5. Santa Feeding A Goat
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.
6. Children Dancing Around the Christmas Tree
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.
7. Children Spying on The Robins
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.
8. Original Green Santa
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 jacket in the 1930s!
9. Happy New Year Card -1914
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 a greeting written in English. Rather than one of the usual Scandinavian languages on her antique Christmas cards. Painted in 1914.
10. Gnome With Wheel Barrow
This Christmas card features a gnome hard at work. Scandinavian gnomes are one of the most familiar creatures in 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 short, with a long white beard and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright colour. They often have an appearance somewhat similar to that of a garden gnome.
Scandinavian gnomes have been a trendy theme for Christmas crafts and decorations over the last couple of years, and not just in Scandinavia.
11. Christmas Angel An Cherubs
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”; the Swedish word is “snögubbe“. Whereas 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. Or, for something more rustic, transfer them onto wood slices for decoration.
However, I think they would make a gorgeous festive garland strung up like bunting. Or you could easily get these images printed onto your Christmas cards to send to your friends and relatives.
If you like this post, you may also like the free vintage maps of Northern Europe and maps of Norway to download.
There are more vintage Christmas cards with this collection of holly illustrations and drawings and Christmas botanical prints here.
These Christmas cards would be great to use in making Christmas ornaments like these personalized snow globes.
Friday 28th of October 2022
Thank you, thank you for providing these charming cards. I am of Scandinavian heritage & look forward to printing these off. I will use them strung with my garland at Christmas
Friday 28th of October 2022
Thank you, I'm glad you like them. My husband's family are from Bergen in Norway, so we also love Scandinavian decorations.
Friday 3rd of December 2021
I love the way you took the time to describe, translate, and explain each image. Such a great selection, so much fun. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Blessings from Port Huron, Michigan.
Monday 6th of December 2021
Aww, thank you so much. I don't just like looking at the old images but I also love to know where they originated from.
Thursday 24th of December 2020
thank you - lovely images - I'm putting together my January journal Pam
Monday 28th of December 2020
Thank you, I'm glad you can find use for them.
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