Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Boxing Day

It’s not over!

And just like that, Christmas is over and done with. Except for the digging out . . . and except that for some of us, it’s NOT over.

It’s not over: Happy Kwanzaa!

If you celebrate Kwanzaa, of course, the holiday has only just begun! Today is the day to especially celebrate Umoja, or Unity–something we all could use a good deal more of, in my home country of the United States.

Kwanzaa goes on for another six days after this, and doesn’t end till New Year’s Day. Each day, celebrants are asked to think about a particular value that has stood the African-American community in good stead over the years.

Today’s value is “Unity,” or Umoja. “To maintain unity in family, community, nation, and culture” is an urgent issue in the United States today that transcends any single group. Everyone in the USA can learn from the strong, resilient heart of the Black community. Will we? Only time can answer that.

At the basis of unity is shared respect and–yes–love.

Nope: it’s not over even yet: It’s also Boxing Day!

And, no — it’s not over even yet. Don’t forget today is ALSO Boxing Day in much of the English-speaking world! This year, more than ever, it might be a great moment to consider a large, charitable donation.


Many thanks to Brian Gordon and his Fowl Language cartoons, for today’s grin, to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn and SlideShare for the beautiful Umoja Unity design, and to the Tumblr of Adam Hernandez AKA “Slim Baby!” (via Pinterest), with thanks to TinEye Reverse Image Search, for the Cornel West quote and image.

How can we be both generous and wise?

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Today is not only Kwanzaa, but also Boxing Day in much of the English-speaking world. No, contrary to some of the stories I’ve heard, Boxing Day isn’t called that because we bundle all our unwanted gifts back into their boxes and return them to the stores that day.

The name of the holiday comes from the alms boxes or the poor boxes that churches have put out over the centuries, to collect aid for the poor. In other words, the holiday seeks to honor and promote the tradition of charitable giving during the holidays.

Maybe you have some newly-received “Christmas money” fattening your pocketbook and would like to share some of it, or maybe you are seeking a nice tax deduction before the end of the year. Maybe you simply have the altruistic generosity of love for others overflowing in your heart (wouldn’t that be lovely?).

Whatever your motivation, today is a traditional day for charitable giving. If that’s your aim, then God bless you!

If you are in the habit of giving, you probably have your list of favorites already. Mine include our local animal shelter, the Great Plains SPCA, my church, Harvesters, The Nature Conservancy, the ASPCA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, K9s4Cops, and WikipediaI’d give more to the many deserving others in operation, but as I noted last week, all of us mortals are finite beings with finite resources. If I may disagree slightly with Anne Frank above, it is possible to impoverish yourself from giving, although the intrinsic benefits are many.

I hope you have your own list! But wherever you give, may I also suggest that you run it past The Charity Navigator (another excellent candidate for receiving donations, by the way), for a dose of clarity and realism before you invest too deeply? Unfortunately, wherever generous people seek to help others with their gifts, there also are unscrupulous people who seek only to enrich themselves in the name of “charity.” The Charity Navigator helps us to be both generous and wise

Happy Boxing Day!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Inspired by Familia, by Mari Hernandez-Tuten, for the Anne Frank quote image. Her article includes some perceptive insights you also might find interesting. Many thanks to Period Oak Antiques for the photo of an alms box from about 1450; there are more views of it on the website. We now have more efficient ways to give, though no less need. The Charity Navigator logo is from the organization’s website.

5 slick tips to make your own wrapping paper

The Artdog Images of Interest

It’s December (I know. Already!) Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice, BrumaliaYule, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Boxing Day, or anything else, it’s likely you’re wrapping presents in December. So this year, on the first three Saturdays of December, the Artdog’s offering some creative gift-wrapping solutions.

1. Designer Marian Parsons used stamping to create this wrapping paper–but this only scratches the surface of the possibilities with kraft paper, butcher paper, newsprint, etc., and stamps. In this case Parsons used a wood block stamp and white paint, but those are more like guidelines. Your imagination is the limit.

The ideas in this post involve, as you see, some personal craft capabilities, and require some advance planning. That’s why I’m running it first. Gives you more time to plan, and execute said plans.

2. Here’s another brilliant idea from Marian Parsons: making decorations with stencils. Use butcher paper for this, so the paper won’t pucker. Parsons uses diluted acrylic paint. You’ll probably want to make some test runs on scraps of butcher paper before you take on a big piece, to get your mixture just right. Otherwise your stenciling efforts could get really smeary (voice of experience, here).

Make it a Family Affair

Don’t hog the glory. Most of these ideas are easy enough that kids can do them. If you’re going to make a mess anyway–and if you have the odd child rattling around the house–by all means, deal them in! (Even if they’re not odd, they’ll probably enjoy it).

3. Speaking of children, here’s a project that’s actually designed for them. First, wrap your boxes in plain blue construction paper.The uniform round circles are made from a pencil eraser, dipped in diluted white craft paint then stamped onto make the design–snowflakes, a snowman’s body. Then add permanent-marker arms, eyes and mouth, and a wedge of orange paper glued on for a nose, and a snowman appears. Of course, it’s okay for adults to do this project, too. Thank designer Morgan Levine for this one!
4. Here’s another ultra-kid friendly idea from Marian Parsons: Potato prints! Never heard of them? It’s not only easy, it’s a lot of fun. Parsons offers step-by-step instructions for this project here. You’ve never had such brilliant wrapping paper! Give it a try–even if you don’t have any kids around. Big people can excel at this, too.
5. Here’s another stamping project, only this time you’re using a wine cork, cut to make the oval shape of a Christmas light. Might want to make several, perhaps one for each color. Wrap your boxes in butcher paper or sheets of unprinted newsprint. Then brush the paint onto the cork stamp(s) and alternate colors in a row (maybe you could “cheat” and add a pencil line to follow). After they dry, go back and darken or draw in the line with a permanent marker. This genius idea is from Morgan Levine.

As you can see, these five ideas all require gathering things up in advance, and planning a work-space that can withstand a little wet paint. But with some advance planning and acquisitions, I think you’ll find these are fun and easy creative ways to make wrapping paper that will most definitely impress. Have fun!


I must confess, all of these images and ideas were really easy to find–they’re from a gallery of 50 Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas presented on HGTV’s website. Many thanks for all the great ideas, and for rounding up all the bright-eyed designers!

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