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Nuts and Bolts: Holiday Calendar Heads-Up! May 2013

May 15, 2013

nuts and bolts head

Really organized artists work about a year ahead of holidays, but everyone should be working 3-6 months in advance. Right now, here are the cards you should be working on (and any holidays beyond these in the calendar, too). You’ll find a very brief description of the occasion + theme suggestions. If you’re unsure, check the appropriate GCU category to see examples OR do an images search in your favorite search engine or on Pinterest.


October 14 – Columbus Day / Dia De La Raza
In the U.S., a federal holiday occurring on the second Monday in October and especially observed by Italian-Americans as a celebration of their heritage. Also observed in many Latin American countries honoring Christopher Columbus’ historic voyage to the New World. Themes include Spanish style galleons sailing, a character in a crow’s nest with a telescope, globe showing North America and South America, map of North/South America (public domain only).

October 14 – Thanksgiving (Canada) / Jour de l’Action de Grâce
In Canada, the official national holiday of Thanksgiving occurs annually on the second Monday in October and celebrates a successful harvest season. Similar themes to the American holiday can be used including pumpkins, gourds, turkey, ears of corn, cornucopia + a red maple leaf (symbol of Canada). Do not use Pilgrims or characters in Puritan costume.

October 16 – Boss’s Day
A holiday for workers to show appreciation to their employers. Office and professional themes dominate—phone, desk, computer, briefcase, memo pad, skyscraper, city skyline. Be careful of humorous cards: sarcasm or snarky, anti-management humor may not be appreciated by the recipient.

October 31 – Halloween / Samhain
The spookiest holiday on the calendar! Samhain is the Celtic/pagan observance, themes include positive depictions of witches, full moon, magic. Either “Blessed Samhain” or “Happy Samhain” is acceptable. Look for Holidays > Pagan Holidays > Samhain. Halloween themes include ghosts, witches, full moon, graveyard, monster, werewolf, mummy, vampire, wizard, spider, black cat, bat, pumpkin or jack o’ lantern, kids in costume, candy—especially candy corn and mini candy bars. Halloween has 69 sub-categories. Consider how best to leverage your designs.

November 1 – All Saints’ Day
A religious holiday honoring all saints past and present. While primarily a Catholic and Anglican holiday, the Methodist Church also observes All Saints’ Day to commemorate the departed of the local congregation. Themes include church, cathedral, stained glass with religious scene, cross, Bible, rosary (if appropriate), angel, candles, depictions of saints.

November 3 – Diwali / Festival of Lights (India)
Date changes each year. Diwali is a joyous holiday celebrated worldwide by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and some Buddhist faiths. Themes include small clay oil lamps, marigolds, candles, fireworks and sparks, lotus flower, characters in Indian costume like sari, the god Ganesha or goddess Lakshmi, elephant, paisley patterns, mehndi. Use bright colors.

Don’t forget to put your clock back an hour!

November 11 – Veterans Day
An annual federal holiday. Veterans Day celebrates and honors those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Themes include patriotic elements like the American flag, bald eagle, Stars and Stripes, fireworks, parade, military service men and women + red, white, and blue. Often gives thanks to service members.

November 27 – Hanukkah
This year, Hanukkah (or Chanukah) begins on the evening of November 27 through December 6. A holiday celebrated by Jews worldwide as an important part of Jewish identity and heritage. Themes include the hannukiyah (nine-branch menorah – don’t make a mistake and use a seven-branch menorah), the number eight, dove, Star of David, candles, gelt (gold foil covered chocolate coins), dreidel—a special spinning top, check link for examples—the colors blue, white, and gold or silver.Some interfaith families combine Christmas and Hanukkah into one celebration called Chrismukkah in which themes from both Hanukkah and Christmas are combined.

November 28 – Thanksgiving (U.S.)
Celebrated annually in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. A national federal holiday and a day of thanks for family and friends. Themes include turkey, autumn leaves, gourds, pumpkins, pumpkin pie, Pilgrims, ears of corn, cornucopia, parades, cranberries, a feast table, family gathering, football.

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