Let there be light!

Call me fickle – in my last blog I told you not to play with fire, and here I am praising the joys of candlelight. However, please note that I am only talking about images of candles. Some of you may celebrate advent by lighting first one, then two, then three, then four candles – as in the German Advent poem . Even if you don’t follow this tradition, I hope you’ll still enjoy the atmosphere of the cards from my collection.


vintage photo card of candles and baubles, and little toadstools, on Christmas tree. 3 candles (red, yellow and blue) are lit. 3 round baubles, a bell and many fir cones are hanging from branch above.
An Alfred Mainzer postcard – image by Gyger and Klopfenstein, Switzerland

The Mainzer company was founded by siblings Renate and Alfred Mainzer, who started the business in their New York City home in 1938. It bears the 118 East 26th Street, NY address on the back, indicating that this was printed in 1955 or before. In January this year the Alfred Mainzer Company was acquired by Christian Brands.

vintage photo postcard of advent wreath with four red lit candles
Card by VEB Volkskunstverlag, posted 1954

The VEB Volkskunstverlag was founded in 1951 – it’s history (VEBs usually came about through nationalisations of companies) can be found (in German) here.

vintage 3-D card by Toppan showing over 20 lit candles. Colours are red, yellow, blue and green.
3-D postcard by Toppan – Copyright by Printing AG Zürich (1959-2004)

Toppan is a Japanese printing company – founded in 1900 and still in business. You can find their 3-D or lenticular postcards from the 1970s (in every conceivable subject) on Ebay, Etsy and other collector’s sites


vintage German Christmas tag with illustration of one lit candle on fir branch and German text for happy Christmas
a German Christmas tag – printer unknown – probably 1950s

A Gibson Card – probably 1940s. Gibson was founded by brothers George, Robert, Samuel and Stephen in 1855 as Gibson & Company, Lithographers in Cincinnati, USA. It was sold to brother George as Gibson Arts in 1883 and became Gibson Greeting Cards Inc. in 1960. In 1999, it was sold to American Greetings.

vintage mid century Christmas card, showing illustration of 2 red lit candles on fir branch on the left. Red background with white starbursts on the right.
‘Made in Canada’ – I have been unable to trace the publisher.
vintage kitsch mid-century greeting card showing 3 lit silver candles and 3 pink poinsettias. All accented with silver
Super-kitschy! ‘Made in USA’ – I have been unable to trace the publisher
Illustrated cover of folding 1959 calendar, showing candelabra with 3 lit candles on top of a piano. Parts of Christmas tree inside can be seen on the right. Through the window a snow-covered tree can be glimpsed.
Cover of a 1959 fold-out pocket calendar – again, I have been unable to trace the publisher
Illustrated cover of vintage mid century Christmas greeting card. Showing four lit candles with red, white and black folkloristic pattern
By Sangamon – probably 1950s. The Sangamon Company manufactures and distributes stationery products. It was incorporated in 1931 and is based in Taylorville, Illinois.
Illustrated cover of vintage mid century greeting card. Green background. 4 stylised white candles and black fir branches. Greeting at top states At Christmas
Probably 1960s – by Norcross. Norcross was founded in the 1920s and essentially a family business. It was sold several times from 1974 onwards and finally ceased to exist in 1981.
Illustrated cover of vintage mid century greeting card. 5 lit candles (yellow, pink and green) are surrounded by snowflakes against a dark background
Publisher: Garrison. Sadly I have not been able to trace the company. 
Illustrated cover of vintage mid century greeting card. 5 lit candles (blue, pink and green, some plain, some with pattern) are shown against a red and white background
A BAPCO Brookline Design – again, I have not been able to trace the company
Illustrated cover of vintage mid century greeting card. 7 lit and patterned candles (orange, pink, purple, red, blue, green and olive coloured) are drawn against an off-white background with golden starburst
Beautiful mid-century colours and patterns! Infuriatingly, again, I could not trace ‘A Hickory Design’ publishers

As you will have noticed, I haven’t been able to trace quite a few of the companies that made these lovely cards – so if you have any hints please do let me know. Happy Advent, everyone!


  1. I hope everyone had a lovely Advent – I’m missing it already … I confess I’m a candle-phile … wondering if I could start a world candle-light day once a year (with proper regard for health & safety of course haha ! Thanx for the beautiful & informative post Wibi !

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