Although Bill Bowersock Jr. and Gregg Higuchi met in the Le Marais neighborhood in Paris in 1997, they soon learned they actually lived less then two miles away from each other in San Francisco. A coincidence that turned out to benefit them and, as you'll see from this post, anyone on their annual Christmas Card mailing list.
above photo of Gregg and Bill by James Gosnell
After a five year friendship, the two San Franciscans (who are now legally and happily wed) began dating and their tradition of sending out humorous holiday cards was born.
Their first joint holiday card in 2002 featured a photo of their seasonally manicured toes at and the caption, "Living, Loving and Laughing under our Mistletoes":
That was the beginning of their pun-driven, tongue-in-cheek holiday cards that tap into some funny takes on Christmas Culture, from being Vegetarian Deer Hunters to chefs wishing you a Happy Hollandaise.
Each year since they have executed a different theme - from "Christmas Mime is Here" to "Silent Knight, Holey Knight" to " 'twas the Twilight before Christmas." In 2011, Bill & Gregg were included in a December article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Alec Scott on "Cardies", people who create their own usual holiday cards.
2003, Vegetarian Deer Hunters:
2004, NUTScracker, Men In Tights:
2006, Christmas Mime is Here:
2006, Silent Knight, Holey Knight:
2009, Married Mistletoes:
2010, "'twas the TWILIGHT before Christmas ~ are you Team Santa or Team Claws?"
2012: Late night SF Partying
2013: Two of the Wiser of the Three Men
above: This year's card proves that they are truly wise men, opting for Palm Springs as their mid-winter desert destination.
"We talk through several ideas throughout the year, keeping a running list," says Bill, on behalf of the two. "Our default conversation topic is often, What should our card be this year? We have a lot of fun planning our Christmas cards."
A true Holiday Ham, I had to include this recent photo of Bill by Rey Rey's Photography donning a Christmas Tree skirt as a cape despite it not being one of their annual cards because.... well, it's fabulous.
Full disclosure is that I've known Bill Bowersock Jr. for over 30 years now and he's one of the brightest, kindest, most generous human beings on the planet. Friends of Bill and Gregg heartily agree.
Unfortunately the sweetly illustrated and hilariously disturbing cards are not available for purchase, but more creative cards by Chris Mundy and Greg Lockhart of Hubbawelcome. Other creative cards by them include the following:
Hubbawelcome is a new collective of contemporary artists based in East London, formed by Chris Mundy and Greg Lockhart in 2009. Greg is an award-winning commercial illustrator, most recently recognised for his illustrative work in the awarded MAYOR OF LONDON “Save the Bees” advertising campaign, while Chris is an art director at M&C SAATCHI group, London. Their work is inspired by online culture and the psychology of growing up in the information age.
With a particular interest in social media, their pieces exhibit themes of loneliness, isolation, compulsion and death. Chris Mundy explains, “In our work we visualise the obsessive and disposable nature of how individual people interact online. We feel that being completely connected with ones peers at all times has actually become a catalyst for loneliness, gradually dehumanising relationships and individual identity.”
Hubbawelcome create prints, animations and installations by collecting fragments of online culture and reconstructing them using repetition and grids. Their pieces are bold, single-minded and colourful – appearing almost like ads for obscure products. They site artists David Shrigley, Andy Warhol, Banksy and Steve Powers as influences.
Thanks to TAXI for bringing these fun cards to my attention
above: In 2005, the Crandall family sent out their own version of the childrens' book, Pat The Bunny
Meet a family whose yearly Christmas Cards are way better than yours. Not only are these people better looking than your family, but they are far more clever, too. Before you scoff and think to yourself "Well, you haven't seen our family Christmas cards," I don't have to. Read the post and you'll see that I'm right.
Court Crandall is a talented creative director, screenwriter, author, father and beer league hockey player and someone I worked with too many years ago to put in print.
Each year Court, along with his equal parts stunning and smart wife Denise and their two handsome sons who don soap opera hunk names Chase and Zane, poke fun of themselves in their annual holiday cards. Nothing and no one is sacred as they mock everything from menopause to puberty to the Yankees. What a nice and welcome change from the family Christmas cards that take themselves seriously or worse, pretentiously. The fact that they come from this disgustingly good looking, trim and tanned family makes one like them even more.
above: Court and Denise at their 1992 nuptials
I wouldn't dare attempt to re-word Court's award winning prose, so I will simply reproduce his blog post here for you with the images of their family Christmas cards for the past 17 years so you can enjoy these hilarious annual greetings from the Crandall Family. Perhaps these will inspire you to move away from matching sweaters and frozen smiles in your next family Christmas card.
The text below is taken directly from the blog Holding Court and is written in the first person voice of Court Crandall:
This is probably the longest running campaign I’ve ever been a part of. It started just after my wife, Denise, and I got married in 1992. I had been in California for two years and wanted a way to punk my friends back in Boston. So, for our first Christmas together, we sent out a holiday card that showed us rollerblading our tree home. (Something we actually did by the way, because I was driving a, um, Miata. Trust me, it was super cool back then. Super.)
As we got older, life graciously provided us with a number of props: A new house, two children, a cat, a dog and a fake nanny to name a few. Sometimes these accessories worked. Sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they needed to use the litter box in the middle of the shoot. Regardless, there have always been plenty of stories that went along with the shooting of the annual Christmas card. Most of which involve one or both boys misbehaving, my wife getting frustrated to the point of tears and all of us riding home in silence. Typically, to some song on the car radio like “We are Family” that accentuated what a disappointment we are as a family unit.
Then there’s the fulfillment process, which Denise runs like a Nike factory in rural Malaysia. Each family member gets a pile of envelopes, a stack of labels and whatever saliva you can muster to seal roughly … nine hundred thousand invitations. You see, due to the card’s increased popularity over the years, numerous people have requested to be added to the mailing list — a list that now includes family members, friends, folks I know but don’t particularly care for, complete strangers and the guy who owns the Indian restaurant down the street.
That said, with time, our sons have come to not only endure but embrace the annual Christmas card tradition. And they’ve learned that, while humiliating, being dressed in togas, having fake pubic hair applied to their face and Hershey’s chocolate coagulating in their ears, are small prices to pay for getting attention from chicks at school a week later.
There are 18 years of cards in all. While I like some more than others, the thing I’m most proud of, is that all four of the people who are featured throughout are healthy, we’re all still together and not a day goes by that we don’t share at least one really good laugh.
I hope you enjoy the latest submission (shown above). I hope you have a great holiday with the folks you love most. And I hope that with time, the chocolate smell in my wife’s car will dissipate.
Previous Crandall Family Christmas Cards:
all images reproduced with permission from the Crandall Family
I look forward to their cards to come and I bet you do now, too.
Tired of sending e-cards with pics of puppies and flowers?
Do dancing teddy bears and animated hamsters make you sick?
Well, I've got the site for you.
Someecards is a collection of witty, sarcastic, irreverant ecards illustrated in that wonderful "airplane safety card' style.
Brutally honest and embarrassingly relative, send these only to those with a sense of humor!
Here are just a few:
So go ahead, surf over to here, pick your favorite and hit 'send'.