Christmas,  DIY

50 Creative DIY Christmas Card Ideas

Christmas cards are, at their core, an artistic tradition. In 1930, the New York Public Library hosted an exhibition to highlight the variety of techniques used by American artists to express good tidings, including etching, wood engraving, linoleum cutting, and lithography. Although not all cards rose to the level of Great Art, the exhibit’s tone was celebratory. As the library’s curator of prints, Frank Weitenkampf, wrote: “These little products of occasional graphic art can be enjoyed both as personal expressions in art and technique, and as happy solutions of the problem of pictorial emphasis of good wishes.”

Cultures have enjoyed sharing written New Year’s greetings for centuries. The English-speaking ritual of sending holiday cards, however, dates back only to the middle of the 19th. Credit more commonly goes to Sir Henry Cole, who would later become the first director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. He commissioned an artist to create 1,000 engraved holiday cards in 1843. Cole’s greeting featured a prosperous-looking family toasting the holidays, flanked on both sides by images of kindly souls engaging in acts of charity. A caption along the bottom read, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

But new challenges to the tradition continue to arise. Thanks to the Internet, advances in software, and the proliferation of digital photography, consumers today have a host of efficient and inexpensive options for keeping in touch. Highly personalized cards can be produced with a few clicks of a mouse and emailed without a bothersome trip to the post office. Or you can forget about the cards altogether and remain guilt free by reaching out to loved ones through social media or various other forms of digital communication.

While many are holding on to the tradition of sending physical cards, it is fair to question how long it will remain a part of our culture. The answer, of course, ultimately rests in the hands of young people. The coming generation will have to decide for itself if the time, energy, and expense of the gesture offer enough benefits to justify the exercise. The Greeting Card Association is optimistic. According to its research, “The tradition of giving greeting cards as a meaningful expression of personal affection for another person is still being deeply ingrained in today’s youth.”

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