(Cards available at www.kaminenmosher.com, original illustrations available by request.)

Boxed sets of greeting cards, especially Christmas cards, has always made sense to me. Maybe it's because we always had lovely boxed sets of greeting cards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was a child; my mother worked as a Senior Restorer in the Objects Conservation at the Met and the employee discount at the museum shop was handy. Each boxed set had a selection of three or more images, and it made sending many cards at once practical and fun; I still like to play the "who-gets-which-image" game.

I can't find boxed card sets being sold anywhere in Finland. The post office, local markets and stationery stores carry only individual cards. Also, the variety and choice of illustrations is surprisingly limited - is everyone sending each other the same cards over and over? Sure, one can order "personalized" greeting cards from internet photo-printing companies, but where's the style and whimsy in that? Finland has a long tradition in greeting card correspondence on a massive scale over major holidays, so I'm surprised that collections packs of cards aren't readily available.

For past Christmas seasons I have made cards by hand (very tedious and glue everywhere) and sent out email holiday missives (when small of budget), but this year I decided to create my own boxed set of holiday greeting cards (and by boxed set I mean really more like "variety pack" as I don't have actual boxes, maybe next year).

I chose to create watercolor children's illustrations of animals I have known as pets (current and departed) in fanciful scenes as a way to evoke the playful, lighthearted side of the holiday season, what any (inner) child could appreciate. The watercolors have a definite echo of the children's illustrations my mother has painted over the years, and I did them also in part to remind my mother of the fun to be had in picking up a paint brush and just letting colors and imagination flow over paper.

(For more of Marjukka Kaminen's work go to www.kaminen.com, original watercolors available by request.)