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Starting in the 1930s, those lucky enough to be on the Walt Disney Studios Christmas card list received custom Disney illustrations and season’s greetings that reflected the art and history of the company.
IMAGINE OPENING YOUR MAILBOX IN DECEMBER 1931 and finding a card featuring Mickey Mouse serenading Minnie Mouse on a snowy night, or in December 1974 and seeing the whole Disney crew, from Mickey to Winnie the Pooh, parading across an accordion-style card underneath the words “Joy to the World, Everybody!” If you were lucky enough to be on the Walt Disney Studios mailing list, you might not know it at the time, but you would be holding a piece of pop culture art in your hands—one that came straight from the brilliant mind of Walt Disney himself and was illustrated and designed by now-legendary Disney artists. Jeff Kurtti, author of From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card, says, “The cards are such a reflection of the time they were created—in pop culture and Disney history.”
The cards were first distributed in the 1930s, during a time when Christmas cards were primarily exchanged among family and friends, not businesses. Getting one was a heartwarming way of including you in the Walt Disney Studios family and giving you a peek into its current projects. In his book, Kurtti quotes historian and author Jim Korkis as saying, “Walt was very particular about who was on the list to receive a card and, much of the time, an investment of time, talent and effort was devoted to producing the card. But, of course, always the great salesman, Walt also used it as a way to promote his latest film or project—but it was still a special gift, in the pre-internet days, when a trip to the mailbox could flutter the heart.”
Each card is a historical snapshot of the company, neatly contained in 6 inches or so of cardstock. Since the themes tied in with current projects and illustration styles, they form an artistic timeline that reflects the progression of culture and technology—all while highlighting the Disney Studios’ deep connection with Christmas. As Kurtti says, “The traditions of Disney and the traditions of Christmas are kindred. A reliance on warm feelings, the closeness of family, joyous celebration, lavish entertainment, good-hearted fun and a passing on of beloved customs are
Each card is a historical snapshot of the company, neatly contained in 6 inches or so of cardstock.