“Christmas, my child, is love in action… Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”
Dale Evans Rogers
I started making these christmas cards for Taenggu and her artiste friends and family about 2-3 weeks before Christmas last month. At the start, I was a little unsure of how I should do it this time. For the previous Christmas in 2016, I made 12 xmas cards for 12 different people, all of the same design. I call it the mischievous-eyed, pouty lips creepy Santa Claus card. 😆🎅🏻👀👄
This time, I thought I would make about 3-4 different designs for the same group of 12 people. But after mentioning about my intention to make xmas cards for Taenggu and her family and friends again this time, there was one night when I went to bed, I suddenly had a lot of ideas going on in my head. I got excited and realised I could actually customise a unique card individually for each person based on his/her personality or interests and my own impression of him/her. So eventually, I came up with 12 totally different designs inspired by these 12 artistes/family. It took up plenty of time and effort to design and make each piece individually all by myself. But the process was actually pretty fun.
In the following, I will talk about in detail the thought process and motivations behind each card design that were inspired by the artistes/family themselves.
<3 TAEYEON <3
The reason why I chose to make this Olaf card for Taenggu was already explained on my instagram.
The idea came after I talked about the song “We Find Love” by Leven Kali recommended by Taenggu on her instagram story with a picture of her Olaf soft toy.
View this post on Instagram
This was another song recommended by Taenggu after Leven Kali's Smile in end August this year. It happened at the onset of a depression period after an initial failed attempt of opening up to a friend (see my instagram post on 27 Aug). What happened after that was a series of unhappy events that made me question my beliefs and got me sink into depression. This song indeed reflects the various ups and downs in our relationship. When things went the wrong way, we got depressed and were on the verge of giving up. But when things started to get positive, we gained strength again. One thing for sure, this relationship like ours isn't for the weak. 💪 #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #rollercoasterride #upsanddowns #relationship #love #danielcaesar #wefindlove #lyrics #interpretation #olaf
Later on, I explained why I made an Olaf xmas card with the words “Do you wanna build a snowman” on it. It was because I could still remember her singing this song from Frozen in her instagram video in 2014 and it left an impression in me ever since.
**Click right to see the video I was referring to**
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In response to my previous Instagram post, I made a special Olaf Christmas card for Taenggu (last pic). That 3rd video she posted on 10 Feb 2014 where she sang the song from Frozen left a deep impression in me till today. This year, I wanna ask her, "Let me be your Olaf too! And do you wanna build a snowman with me this Christmas?" 😘⛄❄💜 . #taeyeon #taenggu #태연 #탱구 #Olaf #snowman #frozen #christmascard #handmade #paperart #ThisChristmas
3 years later, I wanted to ask her the same thing, “Do you wanna build a snowman together?” ⛄
<3 JIWOONG <3
This Stormtrooper design was an idea I already had even before I decided to make this for Jiwoong oppa. The new Star Wars movie was showing in the theatres at that time, so I thought it would be a good business opportunity to make a Stormtrooper xmas folded card to sell on Carousell. After I was done making it, I looked at it and thought this might be something which guys like Jiwoong oppa would like too. So I decided to make this into a xmas postcard version for him too. I also fiddled with the thought of making a Darth Vader version because I kept seeing visions of Darth Vader after I posted my Stormtrooper one on Twitter. But I researched on the internet (coz I’m not a Star Wars fan so I know little about the characters) and found out that Darth Vader is actually a villain. So eventually, I still chose to make this stormtrooper one for him because I wanted him to stay on the Light Side, not the Dark Side.
<3 HYOYEON <3
This one was another design in which I already had the idea in my mind first before I eventually decided that it suited Hyoyeon the best. This was also the first xmas card out of the 12 which I got my hands started on making. Unicorn made me think of Hyoyeon because she’s unique like a unicorn. This design had a bit of magic, fairytale and YOLO kind of feeling, which matched the title of “Mystic Queen” I gave her in my birthday drawing for her previously (FOR HYOYEON: HYOYEON THE MYSTIC QUEEN).
Through this Santa Claus riding a unicorn design, I wanted to wish her a Merry Hyo-nicorn Xmas! 🎅🏻🦄
<3 SOOYOUNG <3
When thinking about an idea for Sooyoung, I thought about her new cat whose name is Autumn.
Autumn had some awkward moments with her dog when they met and lived together for the first time.
If the cat is Autumn, then I think of the dog as Winter. It was an awkward meeting between Autumn and Winter. It was like me whose favourite season is autumn travelling alone to Korea to meet Taenggu in winter. It was also like a change of season from autumn to winter. So I thought about a lonely autumn leaf surrounded by several snowflakes. The illustration exudes a feeling of loneliness and sadness as the autumn leaf bravely faced the cold winter alone. The title was “When Autumn Meets Winter”. Sounds like a perfect title for a melancholic movie or book with this picture as its cover, I thought.
<3 YOONA <3
This design was a continuation of the Deer Yoona drawing I did for her birthday last year (FOR YOONA: OH DEER YOONA). I wanted to put some ornaments on her horns and asked her, “Have you decorated your horns?” In other words, to make herself look pretty for Christmas ㅋㅋ.
When I was about to start working on her card, my mind was all about making things simple and avoiding unnecessary hassle. For example, instead of something more fanciful, I chose to use just shiny ball ornaments, which were much easier for me to make as I could use my circle shape paper cutter to help me cut out the shapes fast. I also chose a simple but pretty font to write for the greetings. In the process, I could feel Yoona getting uneasy about it because she couldn’t see what I was doing. She must have been worried, “Would simple mean something done hastily and with less effort?”
I should have put it in a different way – I want to make the card simple BUT fun and nice. 😆 Because it was simple, this one was a joy to make and I personally liked how it turned out in the end.
At the end of the day, when I was done and posted a photo of my final product on Twitter, I saw a vision of Yoona giving me the 👌 hand sign. Glad she liked it! 😄
P.S. The above scanned copy of the card doesn’t do the original hard copy justice. The actual one looks much more shiny and glamorous in real life!
<3 TIFFANY <3
I chose to make this diamond themed Xmas card for Tiffany in honour of my vision of her doing a love hand sign in the shape of a diamond in Jan last year (FAN EDIT: I GOT LOVE). Instead of the hand sign, I had a snowflake within the diamond to suit the Christmas mood in winter. The words are actually taken from the lyrics of the song “Diamond” by SNSD. It is my favourite Christmas song by them! I even sang this song with TTS before if I didn’t remember wrongly. Hehe.
<3 SUNNY <3
It was quite hard to think of a design for Sunny at first. It seemed like I had trouble in trying to “get in touch” with Sunny to ask her what kind of design she wanted. I had to think rather long and hard before I eventually made up my mind to do something like this. I decided to have a snowflake within a sun – the idea was kinda similar to Tiffany’s. I was kinda unsure of the words to write on the card too. It took me some time before I decided to go with the words “A little sunshine in winter”. So I started making this card on the same night when Sunny seemed to have come over to visit Taenggu with her cats at the dorm, which also made it easier for me to connect to her.
Through this card, I hoped she could give me a little of her sunshine to warm up my days while I was travelling in Korea during winter. ㅋㅋ 🌞❄
<3 SEOHYUN <3
This Xmas fruit tree idea already existed after I completed my previous batch of Santa Claus Xmas cards in 2016. I originally thought about making this into a piece of art for Taenggu for the next Christmas so I put this idea on hold for a year. My concept of the xmas fruit tree was for Taenggu to eat more fruits and be healthy in the coming new year.
After a year though, I decided to give this card to Seohyun instead. She just left SM Entertainment and is out on her own now. I know it won’t be easy striking out on her own, so through this card, I hope for her to be able to reap many fruits of her success and hard work in this coming year. 🍎🍐🍊🍌🍉🍇🍓🍍
On a sidenote, I was actually crying while making this card. Awhile ago before I began, I just took to Twitter to voice out the pain I had been enduring for the past 2 years (the full story was covered in HUG DAY 2017: ENDURE ALL THE PAIN JUST TO BE WITH YOU). To shift my mind away from the negative emotions I was experiencing, I started making this card as a form of art therapy. After seeing how pretty it turned out when it was completed, I felt much better.
<3 YURI <3
I had an impression of Yuri liking Mickey Mouse all the while perhaps ever since I began following her on instagram. Her favourite cartoon character must have been Mickey Mouse. On SMTOWN Halloween Party in 2015, she also dressed up as Mickey Mouse too!
So this Christmas, I wanted to disguise myself as Mickey presenting her a mystery xmas gift. Hope she liked it! 🐭🎁
<3 JESSICA <3
Last Christmas, on the individual Santa Claus xmas cards, I actually gave each artiste a nickname or a title. For Jessica, I called her Jessica the Kitty. So this Christmas, as a continuation of the previous year’s theme of her as a kitty, I asked myself, what would a cat want most for Christmas? The answer is none other than a mouse! 🐭
Through this card, I wish for Jessica to get whatever her heart desires in the coming new year! 🎁💗
<3 BAEKHYUN <3
I thought of Baekhyun as a Superman disguised as a Santa Claus flying around the world spreading his love to all his EXO-Ls this Christmas. It was also inspired by EXO’s new song “Power” and thus the words “Super Merry POWER Christmas”. I guess I would have wanted to give the same card to all other members of EXO, who acted like Superman rescuing the hearts of millions of fans around the world too.
<3 HEECHUL <3
I guess it’s quite well-known to many people that Heechul is very fond of Anna from Frozen.
I would never forget him donning a cap that is full of Anna’s images.
I know he likes cats too. He owns a grey cat whose name is Heebum and a brown cat called Cherry.
So combining two of his favourite things – Anna and cats – together, I made a Anna Cat Princess for him! It’s a classy black cat with the Anna hairstyle ㅋㅋ. Wishing him to have a girlfriend like Anna next Christmas too!
After sending all these cards out in a parcel to Taenggu, I wondered if I should have made more for her SM staff and other artiste friends. I asked Taenggu, “Maybe I should make like 50 cards next Christmas?!” 😱 Honestly, I would have very much loved to make even more of these xmas cards. After all, Christmas is a season of giving and sharing joy right? But it really took up a lot of time personally customising and making these cards all by myself. These 12 cards alone took me about 2 weeks to complete. Of course, I could consider mass printing of my designs, but that would defeat the purpose of handmaking right? 🤔 Nonetheless, making 50 cards isn’t impossible at all, but it would mean that I would have to start production much earlier, perhaps 2 months before Christmas. ☺
On a sidenote, Chinese New Year is coming in a month’s time and I’m already in production of a new series of ang baos (red packets). This time, I intend to make about 50 of them, 12-15 of which will have unique designs specially customised for individual artistes while the rest will be a general design. I will let Taenggu decide who to distribute the rest of the ang baos (those unnamed ones) to, most likely for her SM staff, family and friends. I’m doing this while handling some sales from Carousell at the same time, so most of my free time will be dedicated to producing these red packets. It’s gonna be a really busy period for me, but I will try my best to complete them by the end of February! Fighting! 💪