Christmas cards have always been fun. My mom would let me open them as they came in. Then she would hang them on a red ribbon draped along the sides of the living room ceiling. (I hang my cards on a similar ribbon in her honor.)
Most of the cards were religious. Some looked expensive with gilded gold or velvet. I loved them all, but my favorite was from old friends of my parents, Carl and Nancy. I looked forward to finding that one in the mail every year. Nancy homemade their card. She would create a stencil, usually of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, spray paint it on a long sheet of paper, then tri-fold it, so it was both envelope and card.
I thought they were fabulous, and it inspired me to make our family's card. My mom loved the idea. I was in grammar school and took an art class at night. The teacher set me up with an illustration board and I created an image in ink. She planned to have it printed, but the class ended and my Mom and I didn't know how to go about it on our own. I still have that first illustrated Christmas card, dated 1982:
After I had kids, making my own card became an annual challenge. For years, my hand would shake while I was dropping them in the mailbox. Putting my work out there for an audience was always scary for me. I could picture (and worry) that the cards might be the source of real ridicule or confusion. But I took the chance anyway, because those cards were coming from the heart and told our story. Here are some from years past:
|Cassiel liked to read to Calvin. A mix of our house and Goodnight Moon.|
|A favorite uncle stopped by one December night and strummed his mandolin while Cassiel played violin. Calvin danced along. It inspired this sequence.|
|Pencil rendering is always fun. Mocking a photo booth.|
|An oil painted beach image the first year we moved to California. I printed it as a refrigerator magnet.|
|I illustrated a children's book called Yenta for Santa, and this image shows Cassiel and Calvin enjoying it, in a style with a little homage to Norman Rockwell.|
|We were on a train in Chicago, and Cassiel started falling asleep. Calvin gently guided her head to his shoulder, and I had my moment. I made it a coloring book sheet, and enjoyed people sending me images of their finished coloring pages.|
If you'd like to see more of these Christmas cards, I have a section on my website under Novelty Design titled "Christmas Peace".
And if you have some cards to share, please drop me a link! Thanks for stopping by!