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Paper & Pencil - A Holiday Tradition

There's nothing more meaningful than a handmade holiday card!

At a young age, my mother instilled in her children the practice of hand making cards and the sentimental value held within a simple, wispy piece of paper. Especially during the holidays, my mom's favorite part isn't the unwrapping of her gifts, but cracking open the cards made by her children.

Without fail, my oldest sister Christina would always have the funniest card. It wasn't her miraculous sense of humor, but rather her hilariously poor drawing talent. My family and I would all have a deep-belly-laugh as we tried to understand what on earth she drew (or tried to). Christina never mastered the art of the elbow in her figurines and anything involving the color brown was a bad idea to say the least.

Cards from Grace, my second oldest sister, could be identified at first glance in under a second. Grace's signature card style always involved Snoopy from The Peanuts. It doesn't matter what occasion or holiday the card was for, Snoopy would be holding a basket of Easter eggs, wearing a Christmas hat, or even holding birthday balloons. Over the years, she's mastered her own versatile version of the classic Snoopy.

My brother, Richard, went with the humor route. His cards didn't quite beat Christina's masterpieces, but his always got the family face palming. It was the, "Pass that card around, I want to see!" type of card. Everyone wanted in on the joke and always got a good laugh.

Last, but not least, my signature was inside the card. On the outside, mine were always covered in poinsettias for the Christmas season. However, the real show-stopper was what hide behind the card flap. I'm a sentimental, emotional person. Every card was full with words of love, gratitude, appreciation, and tons of compliments. In all honesty, several times I've filled the back of the card with words of love as well. Words of affirmation have always been vital to me so I enjoy giving them to loved ones.

Not only are the cards special, but so is the process of making them. When my siblings and I all lived in the same home, we would gather in one bedroom and all draw together. I can recall passing around the color pencils, the room filled to the brim with decorations and lights, and only the noise of pencils brushing against paper. As someone makes a card, one is prompt to think about the intended receiver and how to create something from a blank canvas that reflects care for them. The process encourages creativity and quality time. As I drew the cards this year, I cherished the moments I put my phone away and just focused on drawing. When was the last time you put away all distractions and just got creative and handmade a physical gift for someone?

This year, I encourage you to make your cards for loved ones. It doesn't have to turn into a masterpiece, but I guarantee it will be a pleasant surprise and cherished a million times more than a store bought card. This is extra special if you have smaller children as you'll look back at their adorable creations for a long time. It will be the card that gets put up on the fridge, saved in a shoebox to be revisited every year, and the card that makes it into the family scrapbook.

To this day, although we are all well grown adults, loved ones dear to us still get handmade cards. This has been a tradition so deeply rooted in my family for decades and is one I intend to continue to pass along. Happy holidays and happy drawing!

Angelica Pasquali
Angelica Pasquali
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Angelica Pasquali

Hi there, I'm Angelica!

I'm a wedding/elopement photographer and climate activist based in New Jersey. By combing art and activism, I create powerful visuals that influence and educate people on global issues. IG: @dawnpointstudios

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