When I was in high school, I did a drawing that, like all good parents, my parents loved. My mom decided to look into making it into our family Christmas card that year. That was the beginning. Here is a collection of my drawings and my thoughts as I reflect on the year each Christmas.

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The images are intensely personal, inspired first by Christmas memories from my own upbringing and evolving into my early married years and culminating in watching my own family grow.

The earliest years were without essay; soon, I learned that an explanation of the cover was helpful on the back. They really are something of a diary, documenting in both word and image 41 years now. What has proven to be most surprising – and rewarding – though, is hearing how universal the emotions are.

Although a card may center on the birth of my child, it is amazing to me how many people tell me that they feel the card captures their feelings – even to the point of telling me they “had the same rug” or remembered “tasting soggy Cheerios, too”. All but one are drawn; one year is a watercolor. Although highly detailed and realistic, each picture also conveys a strong sense of negative space, contrast and composition – as do all of my drawings.

The originals have frequently been given to the featured subject on the card; as a result, my house is covered with them, giving the Family Room an extra reason to be called so. I try to be on the lookout all year long for what may be a good subject and, as one card documents, if I smell Turkey cooking and have not yet finished the drawing, I am in trouble…