This small collection of Spanish vintage Christmas cards celebrate Spain’s traditional occupations, but look closely at the design details of each card. These beautifully ornate illustrations give us a fascinating insight into the bygone era of these time-honoured professions, especially into those that are now obsolete.
The lamplighter and the coal man are now enjoying electricity, but others such as the barman and the postman are still going strong, as is, surprisingly, the shoe shiner. And can you spot the block of turrón in almost every card? Keep an eye out too for some more surprising objects in this collection, including tropical fruits, blimps and a Japanese ship:
The Christmas card above illustrates a familiar job, but what the waiter is holding is sherry and liquor glasses, which are rarely used now but for in a few traditional bars.
Below, see a fabulous Art Nouveau Christmas card with a triumphant innkeeper strutting down the street to the rescue of many a thirsty punter:
Here’s a stylishly cut card from a stylishly dressed lady carrying an umbrella just in case:
Spot the three modes of Christmas postal transport. The Polar Express and the cargo ship may once have made it up to Lapland, but I don’t think the little Wright brothers’ plane could have carried many letters:
But the blimp and the vintage car, on the other hand:
The nightwatchman stood outside Valencia’s Estació del Nord:
A festive time of year to enjoy turrón, turkey, red wine and watermelon. Spot the three wise men round the corner:
Fortunately, child labour is now outlawed in Spain:
You can very occasionally still find shoe shiners on Gran Vía, particularly around Christmas time:
Some of the lamps you can find around Madrid’s old town are still from the era of oil lamps, but the filament has now been replaced with LED bulbs:
One of my favourite Madrid pasteleros is Syrian. How times in Spain have changed:
And don’t forget all those festive pineapples, factories and Japanese ships again:
It’s always great to see a palm tree in a Christmas card:
Though styles have changed from finding dead game and poultry festive:
Nice horseshoe card design here:
Impressive balancing skills from the coal boy:
All photos © National Library of Spain.