Choosing the Perfect Holiday Card

When I was an undergrad, more than twenty years ago now, I used to spend my Sunday afternoons writing letters to friends who had gone to schools in other cities. The only thing that I used to enjoy more than writing was receiving their responses: artfully crafted letters that often included photographs, drawings, and recipes to help illustrate my friends’ anecdotes.

(Card: Alexandra Darrow (1957), from the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Over the last decades email has replaced the written letter and, more recently, instant messaging and texting has become the norm in our fast-paced lives. For many people, the only thing the mailbox brings is bills and junk mail. The one exception to this is the holiday card, a tradition I still hold dear; each year I try to find just the right ones to send out to my loved ones.

(Photo: MoMA Store)

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) produces an excellent collection of pop-up cards created by a variety of artists and designers. If you would like to try your hand at making something like this, children’s book illustrator Robert Sabuda provides directions for about half a dozen winter-themed designs on his site.

(Photo: Paige Russell)

A lot of holiday cards are much too busy for my tastes but Paige Russell’s design features clean lines. I think this would make a great project to do with children.

Gathering around a scrapbook of old family photos is a favourite holiday pastime of mine, so I really dig Red Camper’s quirky retro cards. Even if your family doesn’t have an embarrassing holiday story to reminisce about, like the time my dad accidently set fire to my grandmother while lighting the Christmas pudding (don’t ask), these cards will make you appreciate the festive antics of old.

(Photo: Red Camper via Etsy)

Want something that will completely stand out on your friends’ mantels? How about a Christmas telegram, like the one created by Chewing the Cud?

(Photo: Chewing the Cud)

Overdue incorporates actual titles from the Minneapolis Public Library collection into their designs to create a unique take on the holiday card.

(Photo: Overdue)

One of the cards from A Favorite Design is likely to be my pick this year. They have ones that look like concert tickets, bingo cards, and my favourite, a vintage-inspired fight poster.

(Photo: A Favorite Design)

If you are lucky enough to receive lots of cards, there is always the question of how to display them. I like this tree design, which I also think would be a great way to reuse cards the next year as an advent calendar. Another great recycling project is to make a wreath out of old cards.

(Photo: Home Life)

(Photo: Say Yippie)

If you do send cards this year, take the time to include a little handwritten note. After all, it’s not every day that people get something nice in the mail.

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged ,

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