Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas mile marker, c. 1920s

I couldn't figure out this little 3 X 4 card for the longest time -- what is that stump, which almost looks like a mystery doorway to nowhere? I settled on it as a mile marker (there's a .5 on it, with some other writing I can't make out). I think the children are marking the distance to Santa's house. It's not a postcard, but perhaps this was  meant to be handed to a friend or tucked in an envelope and mailed. "Germany" on the back, nothing else. Very sweet, and strange.


  1. Being from Germany myself, you´re spot on with the marker - the writing below the .5 is "lometer" (the German "kilometer" cut off - a kilometer is approximately 0.8 miles). The concept of Santa and Santa´s house/workshop are relatively recent in Germany, however, and have been (partly re-)introduced from other European countries and the US. The two main concepts around the time the card seems to be from would be Nikolaus (St. Nicholas), who comes to people´s houses on December 6, and either Weihnachtsmann (Christmas Man, sort of like Santa) or the Christkind (Christ Child, which does not refer to baby Jesus and is rather a kind of an angelic child with the same function as the Christmas Man, i.e. travel to people´s houses on Christmas and give presents to good children). As the children carry presents, they may be on their way to someone to celebrate Christmas together. Or they are just returning from Christmas shopping if they live in a rural area.

  2. That makes sense! I appreciate your thoughtful and informative comments on this post.

  3. I think these two girls have been to the local patisserie to buy a cake or a fruit tart for Christmas dinner. Definitely a mile stone. I guess the patisserie is in the next village. But how uncomfortable to have to carry a basket all wrapped around with holly for any length of time!