Holiday Card Giving

It’s about to be that time of year again when you’re trying to figure out how you are going to make your gifts as festive as possible. It’s understandable that you are searching for a way to make your holiday gifts as unique and festive as possible, after all that’s what the season is all about. The more you can share the spirit of the holidays, the better, right?

I have some products that I can offer, including great children’s books, but what about something as simple and classic as holiday cards? Perfect for all ages and great for customization, cards are some of the best parts of the holiday season.

Do you know where, however, it all came from? The start of holiday cards is not as classic and Santa-like as you’d like to think. In fact, the person with the bright idea of creating Christmas cards was the assistant keeper at what we now call the post office. Since it was only used by the wealthy to send packages and parcels, he wanted to make it more accessible to the everyday person. With the help of artist, John Horsley, the two of them designed a card to sell to the common person that would need to be sent via the post office. This was the very start of a tradition that would grow in popularity to what we know it to be today.

While it appears as though its beginning is much more commercial-themed than many of us would like to think, it’s easy to see how, today, it’s about sharing loving messages with loved ones near and far during the holiday season.

You can find all sorts of options out there for colours, style, design and more. If you’re looking for unique holiday cards to give out to loved ones, have a look around my website. Sometimes you’ll find the right card for someone without even looking for it. This can often be part of the magic of holiday shopping.  Maybe you don’t even give out holiday cards like you used to. However, there is a true magic about picking out, addressing and sending cards to loved ones, no matter where they are.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even feel like it’s back in the early-mid 1800s when cards came into being. Regardless, grab onto the holiday feel in your own way by finding the right card for someone special in your life. From gifts to cards to the look on their face, it’ll be perfect for a holiday spirit!

The History of Christmas Cards,

See more of holidays cards here. The illustrations were originally done on canvas using acrylics. Here is my collection over the years. Click on the image.

Christmas card-Gingerbread

Happy Holidays!

The Importance of Art, In Everything We Do

As humans we are all capable of creating art. In fact, we create art every day without even knowing it. Countless masterpieces are created daily and we are oblivious to them. But what is art really? Well, I like to think of art as being made up of three aspects: Creativity, Expression and Passion.

We often think of art solely as something we can touch, see, hear or feel. Like a painting, song, dance or film. But art doesn’t have to be anything physical and doesn’t even have to be measurable. You see, art is merely the bi-product of a creative expression and artistic action.

Creativity flows through us all – sometimes unknowingly – and is not just found in the painters, writers, actors or musicians of the world. Everyone on Earth is ‘a creative’ and that creativity wants to be let out. I’m sure you’ve experienced holding in a particularly strong feeling and having it eat you up inside. That feeling wants to be expressed!

When we allow ourselves to be Expressive with these feelings, we feel better – like a weight has been lifted from within us. It’s no secret that expressing ourselves feels good, and that some of the most influential and successful artists in the world are also the most emotionally expressive. The best music can be inspired from a painful or joyous past. Breathtaking theatrical performances can come as a result of turmoil or deep love. And often the most obscure and awe-inspiring paintings comes from the mind of a misunderstood painter. Art is linked, deeply, to strong emotions and created through a channel of passionate expression.

Passion is an open flood-gate of emotion, cascading through a creative path. Deep down, we are all chasing our passion and looking for an outlet to express it through.

Inventors alike, chefs or web-creators, all express themselves with passion and creativity in their field of work. Do you think the inventor of the smartphone kept all their feelings inside? No, they expressed them creatively to create maybe the most widely used and vastly influential piece of art of Earth today.

Art in everyday life.

Art is part of everyone and everything we do. It is important to embrace this, whether your art is parenting a child that always says ‘thank you’ or the way you make sure to make one person smile at your work every day. Your art doesn’t have to be something physical, visually measurable or even measurable at all. Just make sure you are expressing your true intent using your natural giving creativity and passion. Even though art is inside all of us it doesn’t belong there. It belongs out in the world, around us and we are created to create it. This is why art is not only important, but essential in everything we do.

For examples of my own personal artwork that I have created over the past ten years, check out the ‘Art Gallery’ section and make sure to follow this blog.

Physical Health Programs by Marisol D’Andrea

Photo by Esther Max

There is an indisputable link between physical health and mental health.  When we exercise, we feel better. Or for a more biological take on things, endorphins and a whole boat-load of feel-good chemicals are released by the brain when we do.

When we feel good, we do good. Add to that that exercise is an effective form of preventive medicine, so great for the individual and also for business (fewer sick days and lower productivity) and one begins to see how health really impacts upon the communities that we live in.

Consequently, implementing free, accessible health care programs, in community centres for example, would be a real boost to all concerned – the individual, the centre and the community at large.

People tend to stick with something more so than when they try and achieve something on their own – through a sense of community and shared experience. Sure, you can see endless adverts for home exercise equipment that near promise you a thinner, healthier future, but then don’t deliver. Why?  Primarily because it’s being done in isolation behind closed doors at home. Way too many distractions plus not enough encouragement from others.

Accessible and affordable programs can focus on the need to tackle obesity – a problem that affects anyone, irrespective of whatever particular demographic they may fall in to.

Programs can also be tailored for say youth on one day, adults another day and seniors another, so as to encourage attendance through repeated patterns of recurrence.

A community engendered sense of health and well-being radiates a feel-good factor for all those involved. It also encourages a greater sense of community as it allows for individuals to get out and away from the allure of the TV or PC screen. Even just walking the dog gets people (and their dogs!) up and out, embracing activity and getting to know others who are doing similar or the same.There is no doubt, a healthier community is a better community. We should therefore do all that we can to harness that and provide people with the means to get themselves feeling better about themselves and in turn help out our community.