Christmas Cards Past • Part 4 …

Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for … Part 4 of my epic journey through all the Christmas cards I created from 1977 through 2021. (Actually, to see 2021’s card, tune in tomorrow, Christmas Day!)

2000 was the last year of my hand-drawn cards. I don’t remember if I did cards for 2001-2004, but the next one I can find is from 2005 and features a photo by yours truly. From then on, I’m not quite sure what I did, if anything, but in 2009 I started doing photo books instead of cards. They had a very limited run due to the expense—and my eventual overreaching ambition—of creating them.

In the beginning, Apple offered the creation and printing of photo books through their Photos app. It was very easy to produce a 20-page booklet measuring 6″ tall by 8″ wide and costing $9.99 each. You’d use their software to plug your photos into a variety of layout combinations, from one large photo per page to numerous ones (I think I did 16 on one page). They printed them and mailed them to you, each in its own neat little plastic bag which was resealable.

And then they stopped doing that in 2018 or so. Someone online joked that Apple CEO Tim Cook couldn’t figure out a way to make it a subscription service so it went away. I tried a third-party book making service and didn’t like either the finished product or the price.

Part of the problem was I became a bad editor of my own work. I had a hard time winnowing down the number of photos and the books became larger and larger. In years like 2014 and 2018 where I took multiple trips, the books were topping out at 40 pages. I enjoyed doing them and I miss it to this day, but retirement doesn’t allow me to do a $25.00 book to send out at Christmas time.

So here then are my final Christmas cards and a collection of the ten photo book covers I did from 2009 through 2018. (CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE THEM LARGER ON YOUR SCREEN! YES, I’M YELLING AT YOU!)

2005 • CARD #25 (?)

This postcard-sized image includes La Jolla in the background and a little plastic Santa I found in some store. He came with a ring attached at the end of a piece of rubber tube and when you twirled him, he eventually said HO-HO-HO. I’m not sure if I did cards from 2001-2004, and if I did, I don’t have copies of them, so I’m sticking with this as card #25.

2008 • CARD #26 (?)

Again, I’m not sure what I did, if anything, in 2006 and 2007, but this postcard photo-card was taken at a mall up in Del Mar, I believe. I still have a hard time fathoming Christmas in California. While I enjoy and appreciate decorations, I never understand why people use snowman images … it doesn’t snow in San Diego. That part I definitely do not get. And yes, it’s hard getting into the Christmas spirit when it’s sunny and 72, ALL. THE. TIME.

2009 • CARD #27 (?)

This smeary photo of the Hotel del Coronado was supposedly taken on Dec. 23, 2009, which means I was very late sending out Christmas cards, which is very unlike me. 2009 was also the year I first started doing my photo books (called, for the first few years, a “Merry Christmas Photo Book”), so I’m not sure if I mailed these out later than the last minute or if they accompanied the photo books. It’s a mystery we shall never solve.

2016 • CARD #28 (?)

The photo on this card was taken in 2016 in one of my favorite London neighborhoods, Covent Garden. Christmas in London is amazing, they go all out and really get into the spirit. I’m not sure how it’s been the past two COVID-related years, but I love being in London during Christmas season, which starts in late October in some areas.

2017 • CARD #29 (?)

This card celebrated my 2017 move to Coronado, an area of San Diego I always loved. I’m still so grateful to be here, four-and-a-half years later. This image (which I also love) was used for the cover of my 2017 photo book (see below).

2020 • CARD #30 (?)

I think my 2020 card was store-bought. I bought a number of Christmas cards in England, including a really hokey vintage car with a tree on top of it (covered in glitter to boot) and a couple of cards from both the National Gallery and the British Museum. This return to a self-created card features two more photos I took in England on my last trip there: The first is from one of the beautiful shopping arcades in Leeds and the one on the right is again from Covent Garden. Both were taken in 2019.

2009-2018 PHOTO BOOKS

As mentioned above, from 2009 through 2018 I produced ten photo books which I mailed out to close friends. Here are the covers for all ten. The first two had definite themes; 2011 and 2012 were kind of “yearly recaps” and then 2013-2018 focused on travel, with the exception of 2017 (“Welcome to Fantasy Island”), which showcased my recent move to Coronado, across the bay from downtown San Diego. My most ambitious books were 2014 (“Travelogue”), in which I included photos from the six different places I traveled to that year, and 2018 (“3 Weeks in the UK”), where I chronicled my longest trip ever, which included visits to Leeds, York, Hay-on-Wye, Brighton, and London.

That’s it … except for this year’s card, which you can see by tuning in tomorrow, Christmas Day!


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