Creative Christmas Cards

Every Christmas our family receives several types of greetings from relatives and friends. Some send newsletters filled with interesting tidbits about the previous year. ?Little Suzy lost her first tooth, and little Johnny made the all-star baseball team.? They are cute and interesting, but we never feel that we are getting the whole scoop.

If we were to chronicle our entire year, I don?t think I could give a 100-percent positive report with a clear conscience. I would feel compelled to tell about Suzy?s terrible twos and Johnny?s C in spelling. And did I mention that I wrecked the car last summer?

Would anyone want to read about that at Christmastime? I wouldn?t. And even if I did include only the good stuff, when you have kids, the year is full of so many monumental moments that it would take a five-page report to include all the crucial information. So, for our friends? sake, our Christmas greetings do not go out as family newsletters.

We also find that every year our box is stuffed with photographic holiday wishes. I love getting these, especially when someone we seldom get to see sends them. We might send out such a card from our family if it weren?t for my ?developmental? problem. You see, there are currently 17 rolls of unprocessed film scattered throughout our house, dating as far back as three years. I can never remember to take them to be developed. And when I do, it is usually six weeks before I remember to pick them up. Our Christmas cards wouldn?t arrive until Valentine?s Day if I attempted to include a photo.

That left us with just one very ordinary option when it came to sending our holiday greetings?store-bought cards. Don?t misunderstand; store-bought cards are a very respectable way to wish others a happy holiday. It?s just that I can never find boxed cards that convey what our family would want to say. ?Merry Christmas,? ?Happy holidays,? and ?Season?s greetings? are not the most original thoughts ever expressed. And if our family is anything, we like to think we are original.

There was only one answer for us. We would have to make original cards, something that revealed the heart of the Wiers to our family and friends. Something like, ?Roses are red, violets are blue. There was a Baby in the manger born just for you.?

My husband, Tony, and I write those clever quips, but the artwork is left to the kids. Each one designs a card in his or her one-of-a-kind way. Sometimes we pick a theme or a Bible verse for the year, and sometimes we let them pick their own. Either way, each of the kids? cards is distinctive and wonderfully original. When the cards are complete, we scan each design into the computer and print them out on card stock. Since we have three kids, we send each one?s artwork to a third of the people on our list.

The kids love showcasing their work, but more than that, we have involved our entire family in the process of sending Christmas greetings to those we know and love.

Tips for creating original cards:

? Have each child design his or her card on scratch paper before creating the final copy.

? Set out supplies ahead of time. Use bright colors for better scanning or copying. Markers, pens, and pencils should be available. Also set out rulers, a dictionary, and a Bible.

? Pick a theme for the year that everyone can work from, or choose a Bible verse that will be used on each card.

? Be sure to allow children to sign and date their design in a corner of the card.

? Allow your kids to send their particular design to their friends and teachers, as well as to those on your regular list.

? If you do not suffer from the same ?development? problem as I do, include a family photo in the envelope.

? If you don?t have a scanner and publisher program on your computer, find a quick-print business to make the cards for you.

? If you have the equipment to make cards at home, be sure to print them on card stock in a standard envelope size. A stationery or office-supply store will offer several sizes.

? Be sure to save the original artwork. Frame the artwork for a keepsake collection that can be displayed every year at Christmas. As time passes, your family will love looking back at their designs.

Kim Wier is the coauthor of Redeeming the Season, from which this article is reprinted. This Focus on the Family book provides ?simple ideas for a memorable and meaningful Christmas? and is published by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois. Used by permission.

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