Ok, so I’m going to start this blog post with a dangerous admission, the kind of admission that could get me into trouble or maybe the kind of admission that might make any potential Christmas “customers” run a mile…perhaps this is a terrible business move but here it is, I’m going to give this honesty-vulnerability thing a shot and lay my cards, quite literally, on the table…so here goes…
I don’t like making Christmas cards.
There. I said it.
But the thing is, every year I get asked by kind and supportive family members if perhaps, this year, I’ll be making Christmas cards again?
“Oh yes,” I enthuse, “I will. In fact I’m already working on them”.
That’s always a lie. A bold faced lie but one I feel compelled to tell.
Some of these very kind and supportive family members will then pre-order these unmade cards and so the pressure mounts and I find myself stuck in a sort of self-inflicted Christmas card terror.
This year, I found myself in this predictable predicament yet again and I began to design my cards with an edge of panic. It was already late November. What about people who need to post to America?
I settled on this guy. He’s pretty Christmassy I thought; he is a reindeer after all with antlers and a regal feel about him. He’ll do the trick.
I cut him into lino, threw him through the printing press and decided that he was looking pretty good.
Then I added a few elements: a moon in one; a mountain and some trees in another.
So now I had three versions of my 2021 block buster Christmas card. But which one was best? I wondered.
I was suddenly beginning to doubt them all so I decided to text some trusted friends and simply ask:
“Which do you prefer”
…I presumed I’d get a clear preference for which image was working and which was not. Instead what I got was a lot of different opinions and a lot of different preferences…some with “helpful” suggestions thrown in to steer me in the right direction.
First up was my mother, always my go-to person for trusted advice, whatever the problem or situation.
She got back to me very promptly with some short, clear directives.
“Hang a Santa hat off his antler”
“Are you joking me?” I replied followed by some humorous emojis so as not to seem overly sensitive.
“No,” she responded, adding “And how about a bauble hanging off the other antler.”
Short, succinct, to the point. She didn’t say whether she actually liked it.
I did what I was told but I couldn’t quite bring myself to add that bauble.
So here it is: Hilda’s Card.
Another text pings in. This time it’s Catherine. Always a very supportive friend in every possible way and with a great artistic eye to boot.
She loved them all.
YES. That’s more like it.
I glow a little.
But, she adds, how about a red nose?
Ah! A pattern is emerging.
I’m beginning to wonder if my Christmas card isn’t all that Christmassy after all?
I add the red nose. Rudolf. Yes, I see it. It makes sense. It works. So here it is:
The Catherine Card
My friend Iseult loved the red, my friend Joan loved the moon, my friend Marie Laure felt he should be looking the other way and my aunt Mairin suggested I shift the moon down, just a little. Sorcha and Finn said the trees and mountains “landed” for them and Colin, Ruth and co agreed with this.
My friend Jenny reflected my own preference voting for the deer “as he is”. No baubles, no Santa hat, no mountains, no trees and no moon. Nothing. Good. Now that’s my kind of Christmas card. I called that one The Jenny Card.
Then finally my friend Francis replied. We had quite a lot of back and forth about ALL the designs until it emerged that he hadn’t realised that they were actually Christmas cards at all. Now this was a bit of a shocker and it came quite late in the day but I took it on the nose and forged ahead regardless, confident in the fact that the Hilda Card and the Catherine Card would save the day by capturing that elusive Christmas spirit.
This had turned into an interesting exercise and it was now very clear there was no consensus at all. In fact, it was just opposite. Different people like different cards and so I decided to go with them all and dedicate each card to the friend who loved it the most…or who gave me the clearest directives on how to “improve” it.
The whole thing made me smile. Isn’t this what makes the world go around after all?
And, I’ll admit it; I ended up really enjoying making these cards so thank you to all my deer friends who took the time to share their thoughts and opinions with me and have a very Deer Christmas!