DIY Christmas cards

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Give me any holiday, and I’ll make a greeting card for it. No matter how crazy-busy life gets, I like to think of card-making as instant art therapy. It’s a terrific way to unwind after a long day, and I can vouch for the fact that it’s incredibly easy (and economical) to do. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Gather a batch of recycled greeting cards or magazine clippings that strike your fancy. Or, dig through your own family photo albums for funny vintage shots — and jot down a clever message or sentiment that works with them. (If the relatives in the photo are still breathing, you might want to ask their permission to immortalize them on a funny card. Otherwise, you’re good to go.)

Next, make a list of craft supplies you’ll need to assemble and complete your cards.

Michael’s, the craft store, carries packages of blank cards with envelopes in all sizes. While you’re at it, pick up a few bottles of glitter, glue sticks, stickers, and other trims that work with the theme you’ve chosen. Clear space at your kitchen table, then grab your scissors … and start playing! There’s a certain charm in a crafty, handmade card — so don’t feel you have to aim for glossy perfection. (That’s what Hallmark is for.)

Michael’s also carries a variety of stamps with greeting card messages for any holiday or season, or your can print your own sentiments. The card shown above is one of two designs I’ve been working on this season. I also purchased several packages of star confetti to sprinkle inside each card, to carry out the “Christmas magic” theme. –CL

 

 

Beat the Christmas blues

The discordance between our expectations of happiness and the emotional realities of the holidays is a major reason for the high incidence of depression at this time of year.” — Dr. Andrew Weil, Spontaneous Happiness

Does it feel like the world is throwing one big holiday party and you’re not invited? All those cheery TV commercials promoting holiday excess and family unity can seem downright cruel — especially to those enduring the loss of a loved one or a job, or the end of a marriage. If you suffer from the holiday blues, I wrote today’s column for you. Please click here to read it.

Holiday party manners

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.  ~Washington Irving

My mother has been in the hospital since the day after Thanksgiving, and it looks like she’ll be spending several weeks recovering in a rehab center. While waiting for calls from the hospital, I’ve kept busy working on a series of holiday columns and photos for AOL’s Patch Holiday Guide.  The first is a guide to modern holiday manners. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about holiday etiquette — including how to pick out hostess gifts and how to be the guest who gets invited back. Please click here to read it. — CL

— Photo of a holiday display at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, by Cindy La Ferle —