Take it from someone who grew up in Soviet Union -- these were not Christmas but New Year postcards, and Santa was actually Granddad Frost (Ded Moroz, Дед Мороз)... :)
As to why rockets -- well, Soviet Union was quite proud of its space program (one of the things we could rightfully be proud of, I think)... I think that one of the first cards shown celebrates docking between Soviet Soyuz and US Appollo spacecrafts, kind of cool event now looking back, considering, hmm, "tensions" of the time (hey, and neither side even screwd up metric vs. imperial units! ;) ).
-- EDIT: Nope! Both are Soviet craft on closer inspection, at least on the postcard -- but they definitely looked like ones from that mission, spoken as a kid who grew up on this stuff... Well, artist must have been told to replace NASA logo with USSR...
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