F$*king Christmas Cards
For some context, I did this one a couple weeks ago during the Oneofakind Christmas Show and Sale. I ended up wandering the whole show for hours looking for something to write about, and these niche holiday cards were too fantastic to ignore. Oh, and if anyone’s interested in artisan work, go there next year, it’s pretty neat. Merry Christmas everyone.
Against the far left wall of the Oneofakind Christmas Show and Sale, is a small booth that sells greeting cards. While these cards have cute animals on the cover, they come with a warning: “This card contains language that some people with no sense of humour may find offensive.”
Ebony Palmer, an arts student at Georgian College, had his eyes on a blue card with a cute Koala and the words “Happy Holidays” on the front. Inside it read, “Well, they’d be happy if you gave me some money.” Palmer chuckled.
“I think they’re hilarious. I really think they’ve got Hallmark beat,” said Palmer, as he picked up a card that read “Santa hates you.”
“I’m not trying to insult anyone,” said Nikki Bordignon, the cards’ designer.
She sits behind the counter of her booth, painting larger versions of her cards onto canvas. She still pays attention to customers as they look over her cards. She offers them help and gives them a little sneak peak of what she’s painting. Monday afternoon she was working on a happy moose that had a blue scarf around its neck. Written in the corner was “Merry Christmas, you materialistic bastard.”
Bordignon says that she got the in Vancouver, while working at a gift shop. “I was unpacking these boxes with these beautiful handmade little Christmas cards. I just thought that if the card said ‘go fuck yourself’ I would die of laughter.”
Before she made cards, Bordignon worked as a music columnist in Vancouver. She said this didn’t suit her, and so she went back to school in 2006 to study graphic design. Her cards came soon after.
“I showed [the cards] to my parents and they loved them. It’s funny, I didn’t intend to actually sell these, but my mom told me to bring a few to a stationery store to see if they’d buy any. I did, and they did, ” Bordignon said, explaining that the cards first went on sale in May 2007.
The cards aren’t limited to Christmas. Bordignon has cards that say thank you, sorry, happy birthday, and many other greetings all with her unconventional style.
“Sometimes they’re things I want to say to people, but would never actually say,” she said about her creative process. “Others are things I hear really gutsy people say. And sometimes they come from TV. It depends on how I’m feeling.”
Christine Abelson is a programmer from the University of Waterloo who was at the Oneofakind show Monday afternoon. She smiled as she looked through the thank you cards. Unable to pick one, she eventually grabbed a few cards to compare the remarks.
“I’m thinking of getting one for my sister-in-law. I want to say thank you in the worst way possible.”
According to Bordignon, almost everyone laughs when they see her cards, and the Oneofakind show was proving to be no different. “That being said sometimes a guy will pick one up, look at it, and then quietly put it back and walk away,” Bordignon explained.
Bordignon sells these cards in select stores in British Columbia, though most of her traffic comes from trade shows. She follows the Oneofakind show as it passes through Canada, with appearances in Edmonton, Calgary and her hometown of Vancouver.
One woman glanced at the inside of a card and burst out laughing. “Oh my God, this is what I’ve always wanted to say!”
“I said it for you,” Bordignon replies with a grin.