Christmas Cards
My first card was done as a joke, it was two fossil creatures and a joke about how old we were. (We were like 30 at the time.) But it was well received and so I kept doing it. Soon people were looking forward to my cards. Over the years I've progressed from hand drawn and inked images that I laid up by hand and photocopied at Kinkos, to computer graphics that I printed at home, to 3D images, to high level drawing and painting programs on a tablet. My abilities have improved with the technology.

It is amazing to look back over the cards. I can see how my skills and technology have advanced. I'm also surprised by a couple of other things. First how dark some of the years were. Far from being darker than usual, the 2020 card was not that out of line. Indeed compared to 2016 or 2003 it was fairly hopeful. Then how these cards remind me of all the experiences we've had, the things we've gone through, the good times and the bad. It's nice to go down memory lane with these. Lastly, I'm also astonished that I've kept this going for so long. I may have started it as a joke, but it just kept going and going. At this point it would be a huge loss to end the string. Who knows how many more of these I'll come up with.

2020: This was a hell of a year. Between Covid, the election, murder hornets, Black Lives Matter, and on and on, it was a year that tested everyone's strength, and solidarity. I did this card, much darker than my usual stuff, to memorialize one hell of a year. Procreate and Affinity Designer on the iPad Pro. with the Apple Pencil. Printed layout on the iMac with Pages.

2019 For some reason I wanted to do something with snowflakes. In October as I was in the shower I just got this image of a snowflake on the card. I fiddled around with it and then it hit me that at just the right angle to the sun, the snowflake would act like a prism and show a rainbow. Then it came together. At one point there was a poem across the page. At one point it had just one snowflake. But I settled on this. iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Affinity Designer. Final layout of the printed version on the iMac with Pages.

2018 Just a silly joke that hit me one day. Inside it reads Thank Goodness for the Internet. Here’s your card. iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Graphic. Final layout of the printed version on the iMac with Pages

2017. Yes, 2017 has been a wild ride My cousin, my wife's sister, and my mother passed away. An eclipse trip. Other trips. Done with my iPad and iMac using Procreate for the tree and Graphic for everything else.

2016 A very bad, very dark year. I also did a companion video accessible here. Only later did I realize that this was the same idea as the one I did in 2003. You sure can see how much the hardware and software advanced over 13 years. Done with my MacBook Pro and Graphic.

2015 Just had the idea one morning in the shower and drew it in about an hour. My first freehand drawing since 1998. Drawn on the iPad with Graphic and a stylus.

2014 We passed our Canadian Citizenship test. Sad to say I just used Clipart and The Pint Shop for this one.

2013 An amazing year. From acting on stage for the first time to stage four colon cancer. From seeing friends & family to thinking I wasn’t going to see anyone ever again

2012 Remodelling. The first time we’ve e-mailed the card.

2011 “Merry Christmas from Lantzville”. Busy, Marsha was sick, Cats were sick, I was looking for a job. One Saturday I picked up the camera and this little tree with one orniment. At the beach I got this. It does capture the feeling of life on the coast fairly well.

2010 “Wishing You a Wonderful Holiday Season”. Sometimes I agonize over a Xmas card for days and weeks and sometimes I just see it and there it is. I saw Momiji sleeping in the guest bed I grabbed the camera and got the shot before she had a chance to move. Total time to make this years picture ~1 hour including the captioning and layup. I was going for a classic Xmas scene, like you’d see on the front of a gift catalogue or holiday cookbook.

2009 “Peace”. Written in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. In honour of our eclipse trip to Asia.

2008 “Cat’s Don’t Like Sugar Plums”. OpenOffice Draw on my new Intel MacBook

2007 A picture of our new house in Nanaimo edited with Gimp rather than Photoshop on my G4 PowerBook.

2006 We knew that within a few months we’d be moving from the Prairies to the coast. It’s my, somewhat abstract, fairwell to Minnesota Winters. Canvas on a G4 PowerMac.

2005 In 2005 there were a lot of anti Gay, anti Women, anti Minority, actions both on the street and in the State Legislature and the US Congress. This is my statement on diversity. Canvas on my G4 PowerMac.

2004 Down the block we had a neighbour that let stuff grow all over their mailbox. I’d wanted to do something with it for a couple of seasons. Finally I made some styrofoam eyes and, with their permission of course, created the “Mail Monster

2003  “Light a Single Candle.” 2003 was a bad year. Both of us had lost parents. The shuttle had broken up on reentry. Bush started the war in Iraq. For these and a dozen other tragic reasons, locally, nationally and for the planet 2003 was a bad year. I did this simple graphic to reflect this.

2002 The height of the Beanie Baby craze. I came across these big wooden models and I thought “What would I most like to see this year? Raptors eating Beane Babies!

2001 In the aftermath of 9/11 I wanted to do something signifying the disaster but also hope. Once again done in Bryce.

2000 “Global Warming Has Been Hard on Santa”. I used Bryce on my Blue & White G3 PowerMac. A huge bump in thechnology. Also this was 2000. I had been aware of Climate Change for at least a decade before this.

1999 A Gimme. We used a picture from our eclipse trip to Greece, Turkey, and the Black Sea.

1998 This was the last of my hand drawn, as in paper and ink, cards. A lot of people thought it meant that I was going to stop making cards, but no, it was just time for new technology

1997 This year saw the passing of a lot of remarkable people. Every once in a while that happens, a lot of famous people all pass away together, See 2016 for another example. Every ornament on the tree represents someone. Sorry about the quality. This was another one that had to be scanned from a copy of the card as I don’t have the original any more.

1996 “Sandy Claws is Coming to Town”. Note how much better my drawing and the computer hardware was getting.

1995 This was the next one I drew and scanned. I had to scan a copy as I don’t have the original any more.

1993 We did this as a parody of all the “Happy Xmas Family’ cards we were getting
1994: We bought a forgettable factory made card.

1992 The first card I made. It was hand drawn, scanned on an early PaperPort scanner, and finally processed on a Mac Classic with some freeware drawing program, the name of which I’ve completely forgotten. Inside it read: Merry Christmas 1992 From a Couple who’s Way Behind the Time. Note that we were about thirty years old, so the joke seems very quaint now. Also it was only years later that I realized how bloody freudian the drawing is.

© 2020 Douglas Aalseth Productions