Top 10 Grateful Dead Christmas Cards
The Grateful Dead may not be the first band that you think of when the holidays roll around, but the rich history of the iconic imagery that goes along with San Francisco's (and he world's) biggest jam band actually lends itself well to spreading envelope-sized Christmastime cheer. Have your doubts? The Dead have inspired a slew of Christmas cards over the years; below we share our Top 10 Grateful Dead Christmas Cards:
Turn On Your Love Light
The Dead's dancing bears first appeared on the back cover of the 1973 album 'History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice).' Here, a dancing bear gets into some electrified hijinx — or “turns on” for the first time, perhaps?
This Circle is Unbroken
A couple of skeletons from the closet and a few bears dance in holiday merriment around the Christmas tree in a scene that could play out in any suburban American living room — or in the parking lot scene outside a Dead show, behind a hippie family selling kind veggie burritos and sandwiched between two Day-Glo painted VW vans.
Cold Rain and Snow
The perfect Christmas card for ski-loving Deadheads, this one captures a skeleton as he gets some serious air. Which makes sense — with so many Deadheads staring down homelessness after the Dead broke up, some turned up in hippie-friendly Colorado for the relatively care-free life of working the slopes. Don't move there if you're used to getting through the store checkout line quickly.
What's more festive than Poinsettia, holiday bows … and a skull topped with roses? The iconic skull-and-roses design, composed by artists Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse, first appeared on a poster for the Sept. 16-17, 1966, Dead shows at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom, and has been a mainstay in the Dead universe ever since.
A Very Dead Christmas
What do you give the Deadhead who has everything? This skeleton Santa comes bearing gifts: a wreath of roses, a gift wrapped in holly-printed paper and a purple dancing bear. Throw in a first-generation duplicate of the Dead bootleg 'Ithaca, New York, 5/8/77' and he is good to go!
A grateful snowman shows off his art skills, scratching out a “Stealie” with an umbrella tip in the snow. Perhaps the most-recognized of all Dead imagery, the Owsley Stanley-designed “Steal Your Face” (or “Stealie”) insignia (a skull with a lightning bolt through it that's usually depicted in red, white, and blue) is appropriately found on the 'Steal Your Face' album cover.
A Long Strange Trip
No, we are not kidding — this is actually sold as a Grateful Dead Christmas card. For inspiring holiday-themed flashbacks, perhaps? It's certainly psychedelic enough, but the color scheme is not very festive. Careful, the eggnog may be spiked!
A Touch of Green
Late frontman Jerry Garcia rocks out in a Santa cap, with the distinctive seven-leafed pattern of his favorite green vegetation lingering nearby. Notice that the guitar he is playing is his beloved “Rosebud,” a skeleton-decorated custom ax hand-made for Garcia by instrument maker Doug Irwin.
The Dead's Uncle Sam skeleton made its debut in the animated section of 1977's 'The Grateful Dead Movie,' with his red, white and blue patriotic hat a reference to lyrics in the song 'U.S. Blues.' This may in fact be the first known depiction of an Uncle Snowman.
A Very Jerry Christmas
Naturally rotund, jolly and full of cheer, it's no surprise Jerry could make a perfect Santa Claus. Just remember to leave out some cookies and milk in case Santa Garcia comes with the munchies. Merry Christmas, Deadheads!