Cheers! Or not: ‘Scandalous’ 1st Christmas card up for sale

The first commercially printed Christmas card is up for sale, but it wasn’t universally greeted as a merry scene when it first appeared in 1843. The card depicts an English family toasting the recipient with red wine, including a young child sipping from an adult’s glass. It scandalized the puritanical Temperance Society, an anti-alcohol movement, at the time. It’s believed to have gone on sale in the same week in December 1843 that Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” first was published. Battledore Ltd., a New York-based dealer in antiquarian books, is selling it starting Friday via a Boston rare book dealer’s online platform.