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holiday talk + more. Jump to the discussion boards and talk about etiquette, entertaining, cooking, and more.

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ho, ho, 
oliday Cards

3 cool cards you CAN try 
at home
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Itís officially begun. Last Friday Ė December 1st Ė I opened my mailbox to find a thin, stiff, white envelope, addressed in slanting cursive to Ash and myself. Inside was a picture of Jesus and an inspirational pre-printed message that neither of us heathens actually bothered to read, along with a nice little handwritten note from his aunt and uncle back in Massachusetts. Saturday it was another card from the relatives. And then yesterday, a cute little card from one of my college friends.

Which means only one thing: time for me to start thinking about what to make for this yearís Christmas cards. See somehow, during the course of my college years, I trapped myself into gaining a reputation for making elaborate handmade cards. Back then, I didnít bother with the whole Christmas card tradition, as I basically saw everyone I wanted to keep in touch with on a regular basis, anyway, and since cards were essentially reserved for birthdays -- meaning I only ever had to make one at a time --- this was always a fun and fairly relaxed activity. (Certainly in comparison to slaving over an organic chemistry problem set, at any rate.)

But now, in the post-college years, the Christmas card custom has begun to make sense. These days, some of my favorite people live far away, in cities I rarely, if ever, get a chance to visit, and try as we all do to send the occasional e-mail, itís just hard to keep in touch. So thank god for Christmas cards, the one and only form of mass mailing thatís actually deemed socially proper. Theyíre a convenient opportunity to get everyone up-to-date on what Iíve been up to, and moreover, to make sure that I still have everyoneís current addresses.

So each December, I sketch and scribble and cut and paste and curse my glue-soiled fingers, struggling to come up with a good design for a card. My first Christmas cards consisted of just a triangle-shaped Christmas tree glued on cardstock, decorated with a hand-drawn gold star Ė graphic, simple and super-fast to make. It made an elegant card, but when the holiday season rolled around the following year, it seemed too boring to make the same cards again. And so the cards got more complex. Two years ago, while studying color photography, I printed 50 color photograms of holiday icons, then hand-stitched each to heavy watercolor paper. After which I still had to write messages, address envelopes, and lick stamps. Needless to say, my cards arrived late that year Ė sometime around New Yearís, if I remember correctly. The experience so traumatized me that last year, I neglected to send anything out at all, a definite etiquette no-no for any well-mannered adult, Iím sure.

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