>Greetings: A Few of my Favorite Christmas Cards

I love old-fashioned Christmas cards. There’s something warm and fuzzy about the illustrations on those cards with the Victorian and Americana images. But I’ve never bought any of those or sent them out. Not sure why…. but I tend to either make my own cards or use family photos.

The photos cards are definitely on the rise… over half the cards we’ve received so far this year are photo cards. Here’s ours, which I created online with Vista Prints. Since we weren’t with our Denver family at Thanksgiving, we had Kevin (our future son-in-law) set up his tripod and take a picture of Jason, See, Grace, Anna, Beth, and Kevin on Thanksgiving day in Denver and send it to me by email. Then we had someone take a picture of me, Jonathan and Bill at Thanksgiving in Birmingham, where we were visiting Damon and Weezie Boiles.

(Jon had just returned from Afghanastan, so we were toasting his return.) And then I had some personalized stamps made online, using this picture of Beth, Jason and Jon, riding on a car they made from the OMAGLES they got for Christmas in 1985.

Our friend, Ethan VanDrimmelen, is a photographer. This is the card he and Claire sent us, with the photo he took of his daughter, Zoe. Ethan has been doing photos for family Christmas cards as a side business this Christmas, and we’ve received several that feature his work. (Of course he had quite a photogenic subject to work with in Zoe!)

But some of my favorite cards that we’ve received (and sent) have contained original art, or have been hand-crafted.

Like this one that our friend, Ashley Newton, made from craft paper and string. I just love it!

And on the inside she used an old-fashioned stamp to create her personal message to us.

I think my favorite two cards this year were created by two very talented mothers who made use of their children’s art and literary skills. First, from Erin and Christian Moulton, this wonderful card featuring the artwork of their oldest son, Alexis (9) and poetry by their middle son, Simeon (5).

She included a wonderful photo on the inside.

Anne Marie and Josh McCollum sent an original art card, with this fabulous drawing by their 11-year-old son, Justin. (Anne Marie took an icon class with me once, and her talents are obviously being passed on to Justin!)

Pictures of all their kids and a nice little newsletter are on the inside. What a great card!

Since I haven’t been writing (painting) icons for the past year or so, I didn’t have any original art work for this year’s card. I guess I could have painted something else, like I did a few years ago. I did a painting for my daughter’s apartment, called “Eastern Joys,” and I used a detail from the painting for our Christmas card that year.

In 2007 I used pictures of icons in progress by several of my students. I think this is one of my favorite cards from the past. I’ve also really enjoyed receiving cards from my students who have used photographs of the icons they wrote in my class for their cards.

And one year I created this card from an icon I wrote (again, that’s the correct term for painting an icon, because you are “writing” the life of the saint with color) as a gift for my dear friend, Urania Alissandratos. I had some professional help with this one, from Anne Dugan, who helped with the layout and preparation for printing.

I’m sure we’ll receive more “favorites” just as soon as I publish this post, so watch for an addendum, maybe after Christmas.

Oh, and a word about Christmas newsletters: I love to receive them. I sit by the fire at night reading them and catching up on the lives of friends who live far away. Sometimes I close my eyes and try to picture them (and I really love it when the newsletters include pictures) as I remember the times we’ve spent together in the past. This year I didn’t write a full newsletter–just put a few lines on the back of our photo card. (So, if you got our card and didn’t look on the back, this would be a good time to turn it over!)

And so I hope that you enjoy sending and receiving Christmas greetings this year as much as I do. Next year maybe I’ll get back in touch with my inner artist!

Please share!

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