See The First Christmas Card And Read Old Letters To Santa At This Exhibition

Yes, it may still only be November (and early days at that!) but it is inarguable that London is being gripped by holiday fever. The Christmas lights have started turning on, and the Christmas markets are opening to visitors. And as London gets into full-on festive mode, the Postal Museum is celebrating all things Christmassy and postal with their newest exhibition. It’s the busiest time of year for the postal service, and the new Christmas exhibition may end up making it the busiest time of the year for the Postal Museum too!

the postal museum's mail rail going past one of the festive christmas displays during its journey
Credit: The Postal Museum

Bringing the festive fun to the whole family, the Postal Museum has launched a full on programme of family-friendly events, from arts and crafts, to a special Christmas-themed Mail Rail experience, and a festive family trail taking visitors on a treasure hunt around the museum. The Mail Rail’s annual festive makeover overhauls the immersive experience to include projections and audio of “wartime wives wishing husbands a Merry Christmas from afar, [and] the broadcast of the first King’s Speech on the BBC”.

Christmas cards and letters to Santa

Perhaps the most magical part of it all is the museum’s collection of letters between children and Father Christmas. The letters date back all the way back to 1963, giving viewers an insight into the mind of a child, reading their Christmas wishes through the years. These letters are accompanied by some of the responses from Royal Mail, which has, over the years, sent thousands of responses to children who addressed their letters to Santa.

the first christmas card, which depicts a christmas lunch scene in lithograph with a banner beneath the people reading "A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year"
The First Christmas Card – Credit: The Postal Museum

Also on display at the Postal Museum is the first commercial example of a Christmas card, from all the way back in 1843. Coincidentally, the card was distributed in the very same week as the publication of the seminal Christmas story, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.’ The exhibition also features a variety of other Christmas card examples from throughout the years.

Tickets to the Postal Museum include unlimited access to the exhibitions and galleries for one year from the purchase date, with your first ride on the Mail Rail also included.

a christmas tree in the foreground, with people in the background enjoying arts and crafts activities
Credit: The Postal Museum

The Postal Museum’s special displays, Christmas-themed Mail Rail, and Christmas trail, will run until January 5. Until that time, various arts and crafts workshops will be on offer, such as a Make Your Own Holiday Cards workshop (December 3), a Make Your Own Festive Sack workshop (December 17), and more. Head to the Postal Museum website to find out all the details and plan your trip.