As I have mentioned in a post from a Christmas now long passed, there are two very separate usages and spellings for the word "present." When one looks at Presence vs. Presents, one can clearly see that their only shared similarity lies in the fact that they are homonyms. However, beyond the polar difference in the two words can be found legitimate grounds to view them as synonyms... sameness.
If one can get their head beyond the commercial and artificial gifting practice and consider the possibility that one's simple presence can be viewed as a gift... then a very new approach to celebrating Christmas emerges. Wrapped within this "presence" is the same good feeling of giving... but minus the anxiety... wear and tear and the exponentially growing costs of Christmas gifting. To that... add the warmth one feels in their soul to be looked upon by their loved ones... as the most cherished gift of all! Put your Christmas Elf... and your own simple gifts in the hands of your loved ones this Christmas. You will be overwhelmed to discover how cherished "You" and your presence really are to your love ones.
Christmas Card "Gifting"
As a young child... long before I had learned to print or write, I can vividly remember sitting and watching my Dad carry out his yearly Christmas card ritual... night after night in early December, methodically and almost mechanically at the kitchen table. I remember too, having him offer me a bit of time to "practise" my own early hieroglyphics. Though we had little extra money to buy gifts for other than the immediate family members, we made gifts for friends and sent cards to other friends whom we cherished in lieu of gifts. From that early scenario derives my current annual practice of sending out cards as gifts/tokens of caring to friends near and far.
Over the years, I too have adopted my Dad's ritual and have in my own fasahion..."Sheman-ized" each card in a variety of ways which not only satisfies my creative urges... but as well, personalizes the "gift" in a small way beyond the generic flavour of the card itself. In the past, I would offer cards bearing a chosen ink sketch printed in black line on coloured paper... usually blue. I would colour these with strategically placed dashes of red and silver colour to add punch and a Christmassy feel. I then housed these in envelopes on which I hand drew images/cartoons and coloured these in coloured pencil colours. When I view collections of these on the walls of my friends years later... or when I receive a call that thanks me for sending this year's card... I know that my wee gift matters! That means so very much to me- it is a highlight of my Christmas celebration!
Here are some images to share with you from this year's efforts. I have completed the process... and they are safely in the postman's pouch and on their way!
"Santa"... busy checkin' off his list. The only time in my life when his desk looks this organized!... HO! HO!
Annual Newsletter and samples of finished stuffed envelopes
This year's card to Andrew and Melissa... hopefully... will arrive before wee "Mac"... (Malcolm Justin Michael) ... expected in late February. Never know though... with Canada Post and their "Snail Mail/ Pony-less Express"!!!
"Country Living" gift shop and art studio in Lansdowne owners and Friends, Isolde and and Dr Barry van Jaarsveld will open this one. They are fantastic ballroom dancers to watch... and they can boogie too! Great folks with generous spirits and hearts!
PS Two very wooly and whimsical molded life-sized resin sheep are the greeters at their shop entrance. So COOOL! Ya can't BAA-lieve it till ya see it!
This card will join the decades of Christmases past framed and dominating an entire kitchen wall and their bathroom. Each card is a treasured and cartooned memory related to the times that we have shared together since Grade Five at the Prince of Wales School in Brockville... circa 1955. This year the image pokes fun at the fact that the Philips have absolutely no more wall space in any room in their entire home. This fact is mainly due to the presence/presents of my large collection they have either purchased or have been gifted with over our long friendship period! Friends are ... Forever... no matter the bumps in the road!... Right Badgers????
This is my card going out to The Rockport Cruise Line staffers Kathleen, Carol and Joyce, who worked with me to generate a new line of cards which has successfully added to the revenues of both of our businesses. Here's to 2014... and new horizons people! Thank you for believing in... and supporting my vision and work!
I hope that this post causes some of you to look at your own Christmas traditions... not to abandon them... but rather to perhaps infuse some new ideas that might satisfy that annual "push n' pull' we all feel when life and Christmas shopping "duties" seem to get in the way and take us out of the creative mode. This is one way of many that I employ... and enjoy to remain creatively pushing forward and feeling in charge of my own journey.
I will devote my next post to sharing "a trip down memory lane" to share my Card images... or "ghosts"... of Christmasses past with you... and as well to send along an "e" Christmas card to share with each of you who have continuously visited and supported this blog! Stay tuned!...
"I... am deeply blessed to add you to my list of Friends... no matter that I have yet to physically meet any one of you! Thank you for your Friendhsip and support!
Good Painting to ALL!!!... and Merry Christmas!
Dear Bruce - you touch my heart with your whimsical and magical Christmas cards. I think friend you have found the true meaning of Christmas...now if we all could board that same train perhaps some of the " foolishness of the season" could be traded for what really matters...Love! Isn't that really what the first Christmas was all about?? May yours be blessed with the joy of family and friends and moments that make memories last a lifetime! Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
Dear Debbie!... "You touch my heart"... What finer compliment can be offered. Your compliment reaches back to me and touches mine! Thank you!ReplyDelete
It is the pure spirit of giving of one's self and time that best rewards... and remains in one's heart longest! The concept is so simple... and yet so many fail to embrace it... or even to give it a chance.
My Christmas has already been a blessed one... even though it has yet to fully arrive. I thank you for being one of the reasons that I feel this way Debbie!
May the Joy and blessings of Christmas be with you and yours as you celebrate in your own fashion. I suspect it closely remembers mine in many ways!
Rich blessings... and Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas, Bruce! Thank you for your gifts of teaching, insight, and beauty that you offer with every post.ReplyDelete
I am ever so glad that I found this site! Every day that I open my computer and wander to your site, feels like Christmas!
All the best in 2014! Health! Happiness! Peace on Earth!
Hi Bruce, your Christmas ideas are thought-provoking and uplifting. You are absolutely right about people being the real gift. You can have all the trimmings, but without friends and family something is missing.ReplyDelete
Your Christmas messages are wonderful and get back, I think, to the original purpose of Christmas cards. These days they have become more of a social obligation than a real heartfelt greeting.
Wishing you and Deb a wonderful family Christmas,
All the best,
Oh am I ever excited, Bruce. This gift of yourself is amazing!! I am so happy to be counted amongst your friends. I try to think of the giving of presents, as long as done with love in the heart, is much after the gifts of the Magi to the baby Jesus. A way of honoring the birth of our Savior. The commercialization never bothers me except when one is not grateful for what is given to them in love. And? I can't wait to get this special gift from you!ReplyDelete
Dear Friend Sherry!... You have voiced my sentiments exactly in your own thoughts added here... well mostly!ReplyDelete
You have already received and fully returned to me the greatest gift of all Sherry. It is the genuine gift of love... and your willingness to truthfully share it throughout the entire year.... not just on a single day.
I am honoured to have you as my Friend... and my card is simple token of my gratitude for your offering that special Friendship.
Merry Christmas to The Massey Family from Rockport!
Bruce and Deb
PS The card is airborne... and on the way as we speak!
Great photo of you busy at such a joyous task. Your words and art have always inspired so many of us, we are fortunate to have your post and I for one look forward to reading and viewing your post.
Yes Bruce, the true meaning of Christmas, is exactly what you have written. May you and Deb have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas.
All the best to you,
Dear Friend Joan!... Thank you for continuing to support my blog on a regular basis. I must admit that over the course of this past year, I have pondered and struggled with the notion that I should bring my blog to an end. Putting each of the posts together is not something that I can do in a heartbeat.ReplyDelete
Each post requires and deserves a lot of time... thought... and courage to reveal to the world because they are so very personally felt and are as important to me in their craft ... as my paintings. Hence... the two "voices" speak in unison.
It is those encouraging responses and visits like yours that fuel my further commitment to post. I humbly thank you for that encouragement.
You and Mike share very similar principles and values aside from our obvious common painting passion. These truths make us both... "deeply blessed" in a troubled and confused angry world.
Much Peace and Merry Christmas to you, Mike and your precious family members!
Good Painting in 2014!
Bruce and Deb
Merry Christmas to you Bruce, it is always quite exciting to see you have posted another message to your friends here in blogging land. I do appreciate the time and the thought you put into your posts here. I understand that it takes time to create such a lovely blog and in many ways I often feel transported to your part of the country as if I am an arm chair traveler visiting places so very far away. I always used to make Christmas cards and then I started having some cards done of my paintings which have been enjoyed by friends and family. This year I did buy some cards though spent a lot of time choosing the ones with bonny scenes mostly with snow in them. I have enjoyed seeing your cards that your fortunate friends and family will receive this year. Nice to think you are keeping your father's tradition of card making going, yes I think it is important and special to do so. Have a lovely Christmas.ReplyDelete
Hi there Lass!... Merry Christmas back to you. You are indeed one of the special artist Friends... "from away"...who continue to motivate me to share my ideas and painting process vius this blog!ReplyDelete
It is this generous sharing between creative minds which I believe offers a positive alternative to the growing malaise and disenchantment which has gripped so many parts of the world. One voice added to another... across cyberspace becomes a choir!
Perhaps Hope lies in the hands of those of us who can continue to model our positive ideas and dreams for the future. I see those aspects in your blog... and they in turn... encourage me... and others share further.
Glad that you enjoyed my cards, It would be easy to get on the mailing list...???
Have a great Christmas! Talk to you further... soon!
As always, your wonderful, insightful and charming take on things has brought me joy. thank you so much for sharing these thoughts and those wonderful cards with us. I wish you and yours a joyous, safe and happy Holiday Season and the most successful and thrilling New Year!ReplyDelete
Hi there Suz!... Always my pleasure to share idaeas... paintings and processes with my blogging Friends like you!ReplyDelete
Your work and thoughts add joy and a regular basis through your truthful and cleverly written words... amplified by the magnificence of your paintings!
Merry Christmas and a Joyous and a Prosperous... Peace-filled New Year!
Much Peace... and Good Painting!
Hi there Wendy!... What a wonderfully uplifting gift your words of encouragement are to me!ReplyDelete
It is my shared pleasure to know you... and to read of your thoughts and ideas at your own very creative site! You are one of a small group of the followers of this site who without fail... continue to motivate me to write and to believe that good folks share my beliefs... values and path! Thank you!
Have a Merry... Mery Christmas and a Happy... Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Good morning Keith!... Thanks for your very thoughtful and uplifting response to my post!ReplyDelete
Christmas... under one's own terms and value set makes it a most memorable and fulfilling celebration... one with meaning and without pressure. I must admit,that it is growing increasingly difficult in this society to remain outside the commercial expectations and mores and to follow one's heart. But there are rewards... as you have aptly described that make the risk and effort worthwhile in the long run.
We are in the midst of the start of a major ice storm. The trees are already heavily laden... with the worst to arrive within the next 48 hours. That usually means power outages and like last year re worked our celebration practices considerably. Fingers crossed. We have made extra preparations in regards to flashlights, candles, e4asy to prepare food and water. The fireplace and our large supply of dry wood will take care of heat and summary cooking needs (somewhat). Break out the weinie sticks... throw open the fireplace doors! Bingo! Instant camp food! HA HA!!
Have a great Christmas with your loved ones Keith and a Happy... Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and yours!
Much Peace... and Good Painting!
Bruce and Deb
A wonderful post, Sherman! Love your personalized postal pieces!!ReplyDelete
I am forever thankful for His Christmas Gift!
Hope your Christmas was merry. Have a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Hi there Dean!... Merry Christmas to you my Friend!ReplyDelete
We are both "forever thankful"... for and mindful of ... His swaddled Christmas Gift!
A Healthy ... Happy and Prosperous New Yewar to you as well Dean!