When I was a kid, everyone I knew had their own way of displaying the dozens of holiday cards that came pouring in during the weeks of December. People might stand them up on the fireplace mantle or along kitchen window sills. My girlfriend’s mother taped them to the closet door in their entry hall. My own family’s cards were hung on two long strings across a dining room wall. I remember my dad hammering little nails into the pine wood paneling and wrapping the strings around them. That in itself was a testimony to the importance of Christmas cards. My father would have never put holes in the paneling were it not for something very, very special.
Christmas cards from friends and family always filled both of those long strings. Getting off the school bus I would race to the mailbox. There was no mistaking the Christmas cards stacked inside – those large, stiff envelopes of white or sometimes red or green. I could hardly wait to tear into those envelopes to see the wintry holiday picture inside and to find the perfect spot along the string for each one.
The number of people who send holiday cards has declined over the last 50 years. My own dining room strings are only half as long as my father’s. But Christmas is still the biggest season for the mass mailing of greeting cards. You can go to the department stores or card shops and pay around $20 for a box of their “deluxe” cards made in China. Or you can usually get a “buy one get one” deal on much cheaper cards at your local drug store.But if you’re going to go to all the trouble of addressing and mailing Christmas cards wouldn’t you like to send a card that’s maybe a little more special?
I love cards as much today as I did when I was a kid. And I love making cards of my own. Card making is a slow process. I rarely complete more than one in an evening. I sit in front of the TV and take my time choosing and putting together the different elements to make the perfect card. Sometimes I use purchased die cuts of flowers or butterflies. I might use my own paper punched shapes. I might add ribbons or buttons or sequin stars. Anything goes when the design is your own. This year I have even started drawing my own original artwork scenes. The insides of cards are sometimes left blank but more often than not I will decorate the inside to compliment the cover. I might add a poem or a hand drawn or rubber stamped message. The envelope usually gets a special touch as well.
If you don’t have the inclination or the time to make your own cards you can still send special handmade cards by purchasing them from someone like me. Etsy is filled with handmade cards produced by people who love to spend their time card making. Yes, they are going to cost you more than the drug store bargain bin cards from China. If you’ve shopped a craft or hobby store recently you’ll have seen the high prices crafters pay for materials and supplies. But think how special your recipients will feel when they open that envelope to find such a special greeting!
Shop for cards and other whimsical items at www.etsy.com/shop/whackyshack