A Family Tradition

My family had a long-standing tradition of designing and printing our own Christmas cards. Starting shortly after my parents married in the early 50’s, they would yearly create a unique Christmas card that was mailed out to all the family and friends. Often, these cards were anticipated, as in “What will Cliff and Shirley come up with THIS year?” I have come across long-time family friends that have told me that they or their parents kept the cards, due to the creative and uniqueness of each one.

Of course, having parents that were both artists (my dad was a graphic artist and illustrator, and my mom was a fine artist, painting and doing crafts) made the whole process easy. Often the concept was hashed out around my dad’s birthday in early November, and by early December, sketches were done, “approved” by my mom, and then my dad would hand draw, and often hand-letter, the art. They were printed locally, usually on colored card stock, folded, and mailed.

Sometimes, my brothers and I were part of the creative process, even contributing to the artwork.  And often, even after the card was printed, my mom and dad would add something a little extra to the card to make it even more unique.

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One year, the card was printed in brown ink on a green card stock, and as part of the design (and this was pre-planned), my mom and dad took white poster paint, and added the outline of a Christmas tree. This made the card “pop” a little more, and added the element of the tree “shape”, with very little effort.

Another year, the design was a 3-sided drawing of a gift box. To add to the effect, they took1970.1 001
a length of pink cord (I think it was actually a pink shoelace), tied a “bow” into it, and then hand-glued the “ribbon” in place on each card. It turned it into a Christmas gift, with a very simple message.

Of course, with all the technology we have these days, it’s easy to make unique and individual Christmas cards, and there is a whole industry that allows you to pick templates and customize them as you wish. But every-once-in-a-while, I do see a card that was carefully and creatively done, and it takes me back to the nearly 50-year tradition started by my parents.

Wishing you a Happy and Creative Holiday Time!

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About John Prothero

John Prothero is a print professional with over 30 years experience in the print industry. Starting out as a driver delivering jobs, he worked in bindery, proofing, plating, traditional prepress (camera and stripping), scheduling, job planning, job management, account management and digital job production. His skills also run in the area of blog authorship, social media management, and lead generation and qualification of prospective clients. John is also a contributor to Rhode Island Creative Magazine, a digital publication that highlights the creative spirit of the state of Rhode Island. You can read their online issues at www.ricreativemag.com
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