Cutting Up at Christmas

One of my favorite  holiday traditions is illustrating a family Christmas card. Over the years it has often included skiing and snowboarding off cliffs and roof tops. Some represented traditional themes like baking cookies together as a family and others illustrated what my family had been up to in the past year; a brag letter without the GPA!

This year I found myself drawn, (no pun intended) to a card I created two years ago. I knew it would be time-consuming and a huge challenge, but hey, that’s just how I roll.

As I began my first prototype – and there were many – I realized how much this year’s card resembled the basics of writing a story.

Christmas 11 024

Both of them start with inspiration. Amazing pop-up books created by Robert Sabuda greased my rusty cogs and sent them spinning.

They both require an interesting cast of characters

with a plot to pull the characters together.

Detail helps convey the theme.

Tension must be created in order for the story to unfold.


Christmas cards arrive each year,

From those I love both far and near.

As I open each one I am anxious to see

The holiday message sent out to read,


And yet as I looked at my blank sheet of paper

With the panic of Christmases past,

It always seems that a deadline is looming

Before I can draw one at last.


So I am trying a brand new technique this year

One I learned from writing my book.

It’s better to fly by the seat of my pants

Than to overthink, plan, and rework


So see what you think and I hope you’ll enjoy

The result of impulsive imagination.

Remember it’s true it’s the thought that counts

As you observe my salutation!

Suspense should build up to…


It is an added bonus when the moral of the story leaves you smiling.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

With Love,

Danny, Susie, Kelly and Courtney

Writing a story and hand-made Christmas cards both require a lot of time and can present unique challenges. After two weeks of drawing, cutting, and pasting, the cards were dropped into the mailbox. Just like pressing “publish,” I smiled and hoped everyone would enjoy what I created.


After I posted this morning, there was a glitch that sent my post back to last night’s blogs. Later in the afternoon, I discovered all my Christmas cards were returned for more postage. How ironic that they both had delivery problems! – The similarities continue… (Thank you to the three Happiness Engineers who helped me on the forum yesterday!)

Do you look forward to receiving holiday greeting cards?

Do you send them?

63 thoughts on “Cutting Up at Christmas

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  1. What a wonderful design! That must have taken sooo much time, especially if you have a big list of recipients. I’m a graphic designer and I used to design a custom card every year, but it got to be too time-consuming and stressful so I just did a photo card from Shutterfly this year. Congrats on your successful design!


  2. Wow, that’s awesome! I’m with Jennette, I used to hand make the card every year (Stampin’ Up parties!) but this year I did a VistaPrint special. I feel a bit of a failure being a graphic designer but have to admit, since we were moving it was a LOT less stressful. I might print next year as well, but I’ll use my own photography so I don’t feel so guilty 😀


  3. Those on your Christmas card list must feel very special to get a card with so much work, time and love put into it. I’m very impressed. I feel cheap because we just go buy cards and mail them. I’ve always wanted to go get a nice family pic taken and use it for a card, but I’m even too lazy to do that! I’m sure your card is the most anticipated by everyone on your list!


  4. Thank you Tim! I send one to everyone who sends them to us. I think a lot less people are sending them out these days since the price of stamps and cards can add up. Everyone will enjoy yours as well!


  5. I don’t send out that many Christmas cards, but when I do, I love doing them in origami, with different colored pieces of paper. I also decorate them with scrapbook stuff and sew buttons on them. 😀


  6. All I can say is wow. I didn’t send physical cards this year. Postage here right now is about 50 cents per card, and free time is in short supply. But if I was talented enough to make something like the cards you send, I think I’d find the time and the money.


  7. I wish I’d known you well enough to be on your Christmas card list. Let me see the mug half full. I am glad to know your blog to see such an incredible piece of art! Wonderful.


  8. Well I’m thoroughly intimidated – you are one creative, talented lady. wow. I can’t imagine the time that must have taken. my hat’s off to you, my dear. what a wonderful gift for all your loved ones


  9. That update is TOO crazy! Ah, the ironies of life, right?? 😉 Oh well. They’re New Year’s cards now. And they’ll arrive after the big rush of cards in the mail and hopefully get the added attention they deserve!


  10. I got 8 back and am hoping the others snuck through. I will just email everyone and say not to bother paying the mailman the 20 cents since there is no such a thing as the mailman police! One thing after another~ At least I learned about Windows Live Writer which I will never use again!


  11. That’s super ironic that both had delivery problems. Wow, your cards are amazing. Best I’ve ever seen. You are quite an artiste, Susie. I’m in awe! Yes, I love receiving Christmas cards and reading what’s written in them and I especially love the photos if any are included! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!


  12. Your Christmas card is beautiful! I love to create a story to go along with the pictures (husband-photographer) that we have gathered for our Christmas card. But this year I wasn’t so creative and we just did a plain ole Christmas photo card and I’m already feeling bummed. You gave me inspiration to get back at it for next year!


  13. I am so glad! Sometimes a year off is good. I didn’t do any entertaining and it surprisingly doesn’t bother me a bit! Hahaha! I will have family and friends for Christmas Eve so that will be fun.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  14. Thanks for stopping by my blog ( and liking my post. I checked out your website and was impressed by your creativity and talent, especially with these meaningful Christmas cards you make every year. Those who receive them must feel really lucky to receive this precious gift of love from you. All the best wishes and blessings of the holiday season to you and your family!


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