One of the best parts of the holiday season is getting in touch with loved ones and letting them know they are in your thoughts. What better way to do this than through a holiday card? Cards have long been used to reconnect with those far away, or as a surprise to friends just around the corner. Families can enclose letters updating others on what has been going on during the year, or photos of everyone in their holiday gear. The cards themselves can come in all shapes and sizes, be silly or serious, and cover all faiths.
But for those with an artistic flair, making your own cards can add the ultimate personal touch to a holiday greeting. Heather Seno, 24, formerly of Hubbard and a student at Youngstown State University, has been doing crafts "forever," in her words, but has been making her own holiday cards for about five years. "I send them to everyone - friends, family, and then I try to sell them here and there."
Seno's cards, which range from pen-and-ink drawings to collages, have been taken to various area craft shows and community events, such as the recent Grey 2 Green festival in Wick Park in Youngstown, where she sold some of her holiday cards.
Christmas cards hand-drawn by Heather Seno, 24, of Youngstown, are shown above. Taking the time to personalize a holiday card can add a personal touch to your season greetings this year.
The ones she keeps, she sends to family and friends. She even sent one to a pen pal, personalizing both the card and the envelope. "He said that they're the best, that even the envelope is beautiful," Seno said. "Everything's personalized. I think that's really special."
Seno says that store-bought cards sometimes stay in the box, unsent. "That got me motivated to make my own cards. You're going to remember to send them because you spent time making them." Seno also makes "anti-Valentine" cards, collages of sarcastic sentiments for those who are tired of the ususal syrupy-sweet Valentine cards.
Seno says the other young artists in the area get to showcase their work at area events such as craft shows. "I think (this area) encourages artistic outlets, but the trouble is that not everyone can afford to do it." She mentions that her last craft show didn't do so well, but the motivation remains.
"I just want to them to smile. I know - that's corny," she says. "A lot of people make fun of me because I do cards, saying the postal service is dead. But everyone likes getting an actual piece of mail. Rveryone's used to bills and bad news. It breaks up the monotony."
If you aren't an artistic type, there are other ways to get personalized cards and holiday gifts that aren't at every big box store. The Trumbull Art Gallery Gift Shop, 198 E. Market St., Warren, currently features a front window filled with locally made holiday-themed gifts. The shop offers a registry, so you can check to see what's on someone's gift list. The Artists of the Mahoning Commons, who work out of the old Ward Bakery, 1024 Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown, recently held a holiday art sale featuring ornaments, paintings, home decor and other gifts featuring the work of local artists. And the Butler Institue of American Art locations in Howland and Youngstown feature reproductions of their featured artwork on greeting cards in their shops.
So, if you want to add a personal touch to your holiday, try your hand at making your own cards. Or, shop around to find cards and other gifts made by local artists. Either way, it will be a welcome addition to someone's mailbox this year.