5 Artworks That Make Excellent Holiday Cards

It’s that time of year when space on the fridge becomes prime real estate; those wedding invites and save-the-dates get shoved over (or tossed?) to make room for holiday cards to shine. We don’t know about you, but the cards we receive seem to get more and more clever each year. Why not up your holiday card game and take some inspiration from some greats from the art world.

1. Neal Slavin

Maybe you’re part of a “plan ahead family” that always has holiday card opportunities on the radar. If you’ve gone traditional the past few years, perhaps it’s time to consider swapping a generic holiday snap for showcasing one of your family’s favorite activities. As seen in Neal Slavin’s Polaroid Channel Swimming Association, Dover, Kent, July 15 (1984) above, this crew is happy to say cheese and proudly celebrate a job well done. People might do a double-take and wonder just how much your family has changed since last year, but that’s kind of the point.

Neal Slavin, Channel Swimming Association, Dover, Kent, July 15 (1984). Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

Neal Slavin, Channel Swimming Association, Dover, Kent, July 15 (1984). Courtesy of artnet Auctions.

2. Michael Marrero

Did your family just get a little bit bigger this year and you’re excited for your little one’s holiday card debut? Consider taking a page out of Michael Marrero’s book and embrace a less idealized approach, as exemplified by the family depicted in his Family Portrait (2012) photograph. Here we see the reality a new baby may bring, it might be a little chaotic, but everyone seems to be making it work. Your friends and family understand the difficulty of arranging a perfect family photo and an honest approach to you holiday card will bring a smile to their face, even if it is a bit messy.

Michael Marrero, Family Portrait (2012). Courtesy of Gallery on Greene.

Michael Marrero, Family Portrait (2012). Courtesy of Gallery on Greene.

3. Tina Barney

Let’s be real: No matter what you do, not everyone is going to be a big fan of holiday cards. If your family is that kind of stubborn, instead of forcing them to pose just use Tina Barney’s Family Commission with Snake (The Waterfalls) (2007) instead. In what seems to be a standard family photo, further inspection reveals a finely crafted composition where everyone is displaying their own personality, including the camera-shy dog. Embrace your family dynamic. That girl holding her pet snake is going to be a star!

Tina Barney, Family Commission with Snake (The Waterfalls) (2007). Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Tina Barney, Family Commission with Snake (The Waterfalls) (2007). Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.

4. Rachel Hulin

Rather than featuring the whole family, maybe this year just focus on the kids. Instead of dressing them up and plopping them in from of a Christmas tree, 2016 is the year to get creative and a little surreal. We love Rachel Hulin’s imaginative Group Flight (2012), featuring children soaring like Peter Pan. It manages to so effectively capture the excitement they must be feeling that you don’t even need to see the gleeful expressions they must be sporting.

John Arsenault, Patriotic Overload (2001). Courtesy of ClampArt.

John Arsenault, Patriotic Overload (2001). Courtesy of ClampArt.

5. John Arsenault

Last but not least, just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t send out a holiday card. We find John Aresenault’s Patriotic Overload (2001) particularly inspiring and appropriate. Ironic or sincere, this full-blown American flag attack feels like a relevant choice for closing out 2016. Save yourself the trouble of setting up self-timer and let this artwork do the work for you.

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