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Images: Early Christmas Cards from Krampus to Smoking Santa

Yuletide Greetings

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Winterthur Library)

First produced in the mid-19th century, commercial Christmas cards have spawned a multimillion-dollar industry. Here's a look at some images that may have filled mailboxes in the Victorian era.

First Christmas Card

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Winterthur Library)

This image shows what's widely considered the first mass-produced Christmas card. It was printed in London in 1843.

Anti-Santa

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Winterthur Library)

Krampus, an evil foil to St. Nicholas, was said to bring bad children to the underworld. The devilish creature was often featured on Christmas cards.

Greetings from the Krampus!

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Winterthur Library)

In European folklore, the beastly Krampus punishes misbehaving children at Christmas time.

American Christmas

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Winterthur Library)

An early American Christmas card, printed around the year 1850.

Smoking Santa

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Winterthur Library)

Santa lights a cigar on a Christmas tree.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.