The robin is one of the first icons that comes to mind when we think of the natural world and Christmas; and why is this?

   European Robin Erithacus rubecula, perched in hawthorn berries. Ray Kennedy (

The popular theory is that postmen of Victorian Britain in the early 1900’s wore red and were soon nicknamed robins. The robin’s breast is of course orange but the bird was named “robin redbreast” years before the colour orange came into the British language with our introduction to the round citrus fruit in the 16thCentury. I suppose robin “orange-breast” doesn’t have quite the same ring!

20th century card designs started illustrating cute robins delivering Christmas cards and letters so the postmen were actually being depicted by their “nick-namesake”.

Robins, polar bears and reindeers are some of the most popular animals to feature on Christmas cards. If you’ve yet to get yours and would like them to give more than just cheer and season’s greetings, Country Living have chosen their top ten charity cards or this year. There are more wildlife designs from the Woodland Trust, lots of beautiful wildlife and garden themed cards from the RHS plus ideas for eco friendly gifts from the RSPB shop online online. 

Royal Mail have a guide to the last dates to post in time for Christmas recommending that cards with 2nd class stamps should be posted by 18th Dec and first class by 21st Dec so there’s still plenty or time to order and write more cards.

But what’s all this got to do with gardening?  Well not very much, and it has been snowing lately! but if you’re still keen to make progress outside, there are lots of protecting, pruning and planting jobs to be getting on with through December!

… and you may even be accompanied by a fluffed-up friendly robin.