My Holiday Card Dilemma
Studio Visit #19: My Color Rolodex

My Holiday Card Dilemma: Follow Up

I don't think I've gotten so many responses to a blog post since I announced I was pregnant in 2019! The response to my dilemma about sending complicated hand made cards to everyone on my holiday list...

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...garnered a lot of comments (both on my blog and instagram) and many many emails. This is a screenshot of my inbox:

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Overwhelmingly, the crowd seems to feel that Steve has it right. 

  • "I agree with Steve. Keep things simple. Handmade for those who will appreciate the effort and treasure your art. Prints of one of the originals for everyone else. I do a version of that - handmade cards for a select group. Commercial cards for those who don’t 'get' my art." - Christie
  • "i agree with Steve and everyone else. Send handmade cards to those who will keep them, love them, appreciate them as works of art and may even display them every year. Get copies made for everyone else." - Teresa
  • "I don’t think your note is obnoxious, but I agree with Steve. Only make them for those who will appreciate them." - Dorothy

A number of people shared my concern that not everyone appreciates/wants a hand made item:

  • "I totally agree with Steve's idea to print cards and only give originals to people who will really appreciate them. Also, it's not always a matter of appreciation, some people might not have wall space to hang a beautiful card, etc. On the other hand, I too think before gifting handmade items. My friend, comes to mind, who said: 'it's not another wool scarf, is it?'. Well, yes it was a hand knit scarf made from beautiful yarn. She never mentioned being allergic to wool & I do not think she is allergic. I think I gave her 3 over several years. After her comment, I did not give her anymore." - Sherry
  • "I think it’s just the plain truth that someone either appreciate something bespoke and hand made or they don’t. As long as I have had fun making them then that’s enough for me at the end of the day." - Katrina

Some folks shared how they, personally, navigate annual card giving:

  • "I make 80 cards, all by hand starting around October. There is a set of 20 that are more detailed than the 60 that I give to close family and close friends. And I make different versions of the 60 so if sending cards to 2 members living in the same household, they get different cards." - Barbara
  • "I have a slightly different approach. I don’t send hand made cards at the holidays. There are so many cards during that time of year, and people are so busy, that it’s hard to appreciate them. Instead, I save all my special cards I make for during the year. Birthdays, get well, or many just to send a hug when someone is going through something, or just to tell a friend I appreciate them." - Robin
  • "When I give gifts, I try to release my attachment to how it is received. It’s not always easy. It is more of a practice and I let myself have all the feelings that arise. But I continue to remind myself to release my attachment." - Dori
  • "I made very elaborate, time consuming Christmas cards last year and had the same thoughts as you do now. I ended up making two sets of cards. The “fancy” cards went to people I know who would appreciate and love them. I made a less detailed set of cards for people who would like them but probably toss them. I also think that if you’re not a card maker, the back of the card isn’t even looked at. So…go with Steve’s suggestion!" - Lory
  • "I've been making my own holiday cards for years and I feel similarly, especially when my list has gotten much longer and making cards takes so long to make. I've thought about culling the list. But some people (not necessarily the ones I would expect) have told me over the years that they look forward to getting my card every year. So as long as I still enjoy the process of making them, I'm going to keep sending them to everyone on my list. If they truly won't appreciate a homemade card, maybe they shouldn't be on the list in the first place." - Nicole
  • "I have very similar thoughts but I still send them to everyone. You never know what will speak to a person's soul." - Elaine

There was lots of good advice on my sticker idea too:

  • "Julie, I would welcome getting more info about your creative process, techniques and history as you proposed to explain on the sticker. That might encourage more people to want to display and cherish your handmade holiday card. I would not find it obnoxious in the slightest." - Kate
  • "And I also love the sticker idea. Sometimes I get cards with awesome techniques used and I always want to know how it was made." - Gunvor
  • "A card IS a gift you give with no strings attached. You send it to people who, theoretically, you love and they love you. If a simple "Handmade by Julie" isn't enough to prevent it from being chucked, a long explanation won't either." - Sheeri
  • "I think the sticker is a great idea — and I’d do one that outlines the process and makes it clear the card is an OOAK and one that explains how the original was made (“The card I/we are sharing with you is a reproduction of a piece of Julie’s work. [followed by chine colle explanation] — never miss a chance to educate!). I still have the cards that my first art mentor/inspiration sent me in my teens and twenties (let’s just say I’m past the usual retirement age now) — they are treasures even if they’re not originals." - Melinda

A number of folks also encouraged me to change my mindset:

  • "I think there are not just the 2 types of people. I bet everyone on your list truly appreciates your art as it is beautiful and they will recognise it's handmade.but some will be 'strong enough' to discard it at the end of the season - perhaps recycle it. And that doesn't mean they aren't looking forward to your next year's card with hope and delight. Perhaps art appreciation should not be measured by keeping it. Christmas cards are, by nature, a temporary transient being.❤️" - Amy
  • "I would reframe your thought. Wether the receivers will bin the cards or not just enjoy the process of making and nurturing your creative, amazing soul. ❤️" - Laurel
  • "I think it’s best not to overthink it all and do what makes you happy What others choose to do is their business. No matter what you will have had the joy of creating." - Liane
  • "Even if they throw it in the bin, you have no idea how much it may have meant to them just to see it come out of the envelope. We can’t measure joy/happiness nor compare it to another’s." - Julie

Finally, several people joked about wanting to be on my Holiday Card list, which I thought was very sweet.  A few suggested that I sell prints in my shop.  At the moment, I'm processing all the feedback. Since Hanukkah and Christmas are months away, I feel that I have a little bit of time and space to consider what I want to do.  When I make up my mind, I'll be sure to share!

Thanks for stopping by!

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