One way I’ve discovered to take the pressure off Christmas is to send New Year’s cards. I love to send and receive actual paper cards through the Post Office. Old-fashioned, I know, but there’s nothing like holding the real thing in your hand and writing a note to the person you are thinking of, knowing they will hold it in their hand.
I started making my own holiday cards in college. Since I was an art student, why not design something unique and personal? I have a memory of standing in the basement printmaking studio at the University of Idaho art department tearing paper and putting it to soak, then inking a zinc drypoint plate with blue-green ink, wiping it down and printing 40 copies of a dove image. That was one of the first (1985?). When I married six years later, the mailing list more than doubled. Ken and I began to collaborate on cards. I made the image and he wrote a poem for the inside. This required pre-planning so I could get the cards to the print shop in time to be duplicated. It always seemed like a rush to get our cards out. Cards have been a solo endeavor for the last eight years, and it’s much easier thanks to digital tools. Now I can scan a watercolor into Photoshop, create the card layout, and print at home. I never seem to run out of ideas. There are so many visual cliches, but there are also many seasonal images to be treated in a fresh way.
This owl was originally painted for my niece Sydney. When I was thinking of something to make her for Christmas, it came to me to paint her an owl. I don’t know why and it doesn’t matter. As I painted, it occurred to me that it might make a nice card. So scan, crop, Photoshop!
As far as the sentiment inside, I keep it simple. “Happy New Year” states it nicely. And I’ve been considering the notion of “blessings” for awhile. I don’t subscribe to any particular expression of spirituality, but take a potluck approach. Many traditions use blessings, and having these good wishes, hopes, and intentions floating around the world surely can’t hurt. Maybe it’s a form of prayer or meditation, and I hope it helps to cancel out a little bit of pain and suffering.
For 2013, may we all keep a gold star of hope in our hearts. May we not be afraid of the dark. May we all touch the wildness in ourselves and in the world and know it to be essential. May we go forward into the unknown with open eyes, letting go of what is no longer needed and carefully tending to what matters. May we be kind, compassionate, generous and understanding. May our true voices be heard.
Blessings to all…