Card by John Philomen Backhouse, White Terraces, 1880
The practice of sending Christmas cards is rapidly diminishing as people use email and social media to keep in touch. Gone is the need to send Christmas cards in October, to reach Europe in time for Christmas, when the internet offers instant contact.
Card by Archibald Duddington Willis, 1886
I suspect many of these Christmas cards from the 1880s would have been sent "home" to the United Kingdom and Ireland, delivery in time for the festive season being dependent on ships arriving and departing on schedule.
The cards would have been an opportunity for showing off their new home in New Zealand, hence the emphasis on scenic views. Picturesque scenes of snow-covered villages are noticeably absent.
This Christmas card of the Grahamstown Goldfields, also by Archibald Duddington Willis, suggests a certain pride in the 'dark, satanic mills' of the Thames goldmining industry. In our theoretically clean and green world it would be unthinkable to include such a view on any sort of card today.
Source: Manuscripts and Pictorial Collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library.