Electronic Christmas Greetings

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I’ve been creating personalized Christmas Greetings most of my life; first by incorporating Charles Shultz' "Peanuts" characters onto the signature lines of cardI's, and also decorating my '52 Plymouth for the holidays with Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and Charley Brown; then by creating my own version of other cartoon characters for the holidays.

During the 1970s, I worked in various mediums and produced cards from linoleum cuts, silk screens and pen & ink drawings, but after opening my own business in 1978 began to expand both my holiday list, and the use of my cards as a way to promote services.

Over the years, media has changed, as have my cards, from pastel and pen & ink to multimedia productions, interactive quizzes and fine art paintings. Included in this site are many of the holiday greetings and promotional items produced by me and my firm over the last 40 years. Hope you enjoy them, and have a happy 2019 holiday and a profitable 2020.

George Rothacker, 2019

Christmas 2.0, 2019

Christmas, 2019
Christmas 2.0

According to recent polls, 9 out of every 10 Americans celebrate Christmas, including 8 out of 10 non-Christians, with most viewing it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion. Though the role of religion in Christmas celebrations is declining, two-thirds (66%) of Americans believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, 57% of all adults still believe that the biblical elements of the Christmas story reflect actual historic events, including an angel appearing to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, and that three wise men were guided by a star to the manger where Jesus was born. As the religions of the U.S. landscape has become more diverse, and with 20% of adults becoming unaffiliated with any organization of worship, the percentage of people in the U.S. celebrating Christmas has remained virtually unchanged.

Roughly 90% of all people who celebrate Christmas will gather with family and friends and buy gifts this Christmas, and 18% of parents whose children do not believe in Santa choose to pretend to get a visit from St. Nick.

“Singularity 1.0"
Available on Amazon in
Paperback and Kindle
Click here to purchase
According to the Statista Research Department, Christmas is by far the most popular holiday, racking up votes of 46% of the population as number one, with 19% preferring Thanksgiving and 9% Halloween. Other holidays fall  far behind. 79% say that they plan to put up a tree this Christmas. This is down significantly from the years ending the 20th century when 92% adults remember having a tree as a child. According to earth911.com, real trees are economically and ecologically favored over artificial trees in that though more expensive, the investment in purchasing a U.S. based product vs. a foreign product (artificial trees are mostly made in China), the carbon-neutral nature of their production, and the ease of recycling of real trees, makes them America’s clear choice for holiday adornment. Other holiday traditions remembered from childhood don’t fare so well. 81% of those surveyed said their families typically sent holiday cards during their childhoods, while only 65 percent said they planned to do so this year, and only 16 % said they would go caroling (compared with 36 percent who said they caroled during their childhood).*

According to according to Britain’s top coach and psychoanalyst Steve McKeown, putting up Christmas decorations early can improve your mood, “In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate with things that make them happy, and Christmas decorations evoke strong feelings of childhood.”

“More generally speaking,” considers Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar Matt Killingsworth, “...if we used the holiday season as an excuse to routinely spend more time sharing meals, playing games and connecting with our friends and family, our happiness on a typical day  might begin to look a lot like Christmas.”

Enjoy a singularly wonderful holiday!


* Pew Foundation Study

Stranger Christmas, 2017

Yes, we watched the “Stranger Things” TV series in 2017. This was the inside of our card.

Christmas at Our House, 1996

It’s been more than 24 years since this video was created, and I am still putting up Christmas lights. The past few years I’ve had 27 lighted deer in the back yard, and this year I've decorated a 30' evergreen in the from of out house with LED’s. This video was one of the very first I created in digital format,

GR

Click here to view video

I'll Be Home for Christmas, 1996

This video was a strange blend of characters from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, a tribute to Frank Sinatra following his death, and nostalgic photos of our family in year’s past. As weird as it is it still brings tears to my eyes when watching it.

GR

Click here to play video

First Christmas at Rockefeller Center, 2011

The 1930s was an era punctuated by the great depression, but monumental in its social, architectural and artistic achievements. Rachmaninoff coincided with Fats Wahler, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and the Delta Blues music of Robert Johnson. Landmark films included Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the“Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind,” and the Art Deco movement flourished internationally.

The Harlem Renaissance gave voice to the art, poetry, prose and music of AfricanAmericans and Gershwin created his landmark opera “Porgy and Bess” redefining how America viewed black culture.

In New York City, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center were all completed in the early 30s while the Public Works Art Project and theWPA employed more than 5,000 artists choosing themes based on American life and culture. Jesse Owens, an African American, won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics, embarrassing Hitler’s claim of Aryan elitism, and the Hindenburg burst into flames in front of the world while attempting to dock following its trip across the Atlantic to New York City. Rogers and Hart had seven hits on Broadway that decade…producing song standards such as “The Lady is a Tramp,” “The Most beautiful Girl in the World,” “Where and When,” and “My Funny Valentine,” while Steinbeck focused on the lives of sharecroppers and the poor in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Not as spirited as the 20s, nor as heroic as the 40s, the 1930s was distinguished by challenges to our image of ourselves as Americans that created a pathway to the decades of achievement that followed us throughout the 20th century,

Christmas Eve of 1931 was not an especially happy
time in New York City. The Great Depression was at
its height. One-third of the manufacturing companies
in the city had closed.
The legions of construction workers building
Rockefeller Center were an exception.
As the twelve buildings that would comprise the
Center slowly took shape, a scraggily balsam fir still
managed to hold out, rooted in the rock at the
eastern portion of the central lot near the booth
where the men collected their paychecks.
On December 24, workmen light-heartedly strung
cranberries and paper garlands on the tree and hung a
few tin cans from its branches.
The Center was never without a tree after that.



May your Holidays “Rock!”
George Rothacker, 2011

Willistown Winter, 2016

















There are many who don’t like Pennsylvania winters,
The broken limbs and pot holes, the downed electric lines,
The shoveling and the freezing cold.
The day of our one large storm last winter
Had put me on assignment to capture photos of neighborhoods
In all corners of Delaware County.
It was a brilliant sunny day, and people everywhere were out early
Shoveling their walks, pushing cars, many not their own,
And talking with their neighbors... for the most part smiling,
Civil, challenged and unified in their tasks.
The inclement weather had formed a bond that seemed to unify communities
Covering differences in cultural and economic concerns with a white coating
To stow away small grievances and help to make the world... for a moment
More beautiful.
May your holidays and winter be
most beautiful this year!


– George Rothacker, 2016

A Family Christmas, 2008

Click Here to Play “Family Christmas” Video

The Tradition of the Christmas Bells, 2018


From 1974 until the year of her death in 2003, Barbara’s mother collected Wallace Silversmith’s Christmas bells. Before her passing, she bequeathed the bell collection to her niece Patty, who graciously gave the gift to my  wife, Barbara. Every year thereafter Patty has added to the collection by giving Barbara a newly minted bell for her birthday. In 2012, Barbara and I decided that that we would embellish the holiday swag on the hallway banister and display the bells, which at that point
had grown to 38.

Two years ago, our three year old grand daughter, Lucy, was enlisted to help, and, with my assistance placed the first bell on the swag. Last year, I held her as she climbed the stepladder and cautiously placed several bells on the greenery.This year I brought the boxes of bells down from the attic and placed them near the swag that I had attached to the staircase. Lucy and her mother had stopped for a visit and while we talked in the kitchen, Lucy slipped away. Secretly she found the stepladder and unpacked each of the bells. By the time we found her in the hallway, most of the silver bells were hung in place and Lucy was beaming
.
Lucy’s great grandmother never envisioned the scope of the collection she started 44 years ago. Though there were years that the bells were mute, thanks to cousin Patty and the wide eyed enthusiasm of five year old Lucy, the tradition continues. In the Jimmy Stewart movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the youngest daughter, Zuzu, provided the emblematic statement of the film, “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” With Lucy’s and Aunt Patty’s help, several angels are getting their wings this holiday season.

George Rothacker, 2018

"The Christmas Carol," 1998

For this Christmas, I asked the members of my family what book, movie or song most represented the season to them. The following pages contain our answers. Click on the images below for a larger, more readable view.

"Holiday Trivia Game" Christmas, 2001

Using "flash" we created a quiz that became he basis for many client contest over the years. Postcards and emails were sent out to direct friends, family and clients to the site. Click here to play (PLEASE ENABLE "FLASH" TO PLAY
Be sure your volume is turned up.

"It's a Wonderful Life" Christmas, 2000

"It's a Wonderful Life" is one of America's favorite films. It stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and tells of a man who reclaims his hope in the world by the intervention of a guardian angel, Clarence. The year 2000 was a difficult year, and I decided to create a parody on the film using my family. The short video took on a life of its own. The ending commercial was created by my step son, Kyle.


"All Aboard. It's Christmas" 1992


Rothacker Advertising had entered the developing CD cover design market, so we used are skills to create a "pretend" CD package as a Christmas Card. The basis for the cover were photos we took of an LGB train I had and photos of friends, family and co-workers stuck to plastic bases and reduced in size to integrate with the train and props. You may recognize some of the people in the artwork, as well as the "flasher" on the tray card.

"Reflections of Santa Claus", 1982

A polished fixture lights the late night bench
Where Santa completes the checking of his list.
Volumes of children living now are stacked
Before the neatly lined rows of dusty legers
Filled with naems of children grown and gone.

A vinyl pointed pen is utilized
To jot down notes on alphabetic pages
Where a fountain pen was used some years before –
And once even a quill.

He remembers back along the centuries of names:
This year the girls are Megans, Jennifers and Kims;
The boys are Jasons, Marks and Mathews.
In other times he composed unending lists of
Johns and Bobbys,
Barbaras, Alices and Judys.

The fashions of the times,
He ponders.
The ancient names revisited
To fade again
And newly discovered names to take their place.


Outside a storm is brewing;
Swirls of dime-sized flakes
Brush softly past the windows of his shop;
The peaceful swooshing calms him
As he closes out the final book and sits back in his chair.

He removes his glasses and rubs his eyes;
He's ready for a rest,
But only after Christmas Eve
Will he be able to sleep for very long
With the winter wrapping him in darkness
  till the spring.

The cycles of the years
From barrel hoops to hoola hoops,
And roller skates have come and gone again.
Some toys that he may stock in June
May fade from memory by first frost
And there he'll be with pogo sticks
Or Purple People Eater hats
In tens of thousands
Awaiting a revival that will never come:
Can never come...

It was easier long ago;
The same toys were wanted by a father as by his father;
Good strong toys of iron and brass –
And for the girls a doll
That only needed a dress or two
From one season to the next;
And no one expected them to dance, to talk, to wet
Or cough and sneeze.

Generations move too fast today.
No time to enjoy the quality of life,
He thinks.
In the corner of his shop sits a stack of plastic forms
Imprinted quickly and stamped out by the thousands.
Hand painting lasted millenniums,
He muses.
But in these last decades of our own century
The craft is going fast,
And wooden blocks and Lincoln Logs have changed in twenty years;
A throwaway world of cardboard, Styrofoam and glue
   is all that's left.


Rising from his chair
He stretched wide
And wanders to the cupboard for a glass
Of port.
The rich liquid swirls
As he lifts it to his mouth and pours it down.
All the years he's spent
Learning languages and cultures
Float back behind his tired eyes.
Centuries of work
And ages of tradition.

Tradition!

The pace has speeded up.
Cultures die in less than thirty years
And lifestyles last for five,
Where once traditions lasted generations
Spanning decades with strong bonds of
Family, friends and love.

I'm getting old,
He figures,
As he pours another glass.
My times are not theirs;
But how could they be?
Their times are not even their own.
Tradition has been traded for transition
And all that went before is
Worn and out-of-date.

But maybe it's always been that way,
He chuckles to himself.
And I do go on.
I board my sleigh each year
And tear into the skies
With sacks of gifts,
Bundles of candies and cakes
And passels of shirts, pants and ruffled skirts.

But the humor passes quickly;
The wrinkles at the edges of his eyes
Travel to the center of his face
And rest above his nose in worry.

There are so many children anymore,
He fusses.
When I began my voyages
Fewer knew of me.
But those that did
Believed in me.
And even if I could bring them nothing
More than hope,
They came around each year to visit me.
They often ask for presents for their baby brothers
Or their parents and a neighbor's child,
And if I sad I'd give them what I could
They'd smile and thank me.

Today I'm so accessible.
They all expect the grandest gifts
Even if their families have nothing.
'And if I can't bring them everything the want
They cast me off;
They doubt that I exist.


He settles in a giant chair
Placed by the crackling embers
Of the fire.

It's worth it though,
He brightens.
Those others growing up –
The ones who DO believe;
Those few who see that beauty lies within,
And that Christmas is contained
Not in vessels full,
But in those half empty.

And on this note he falls asleep,
His white beard cradled on his rounded belly.
He dreams of years of missions done
On Christmas Eve,
When all the sadness he would feel before
Each flight
Would turn to joy
As he would arch into the heavens.
And all the world he couldn't understand
Would loom below
All white, harmonious and new.

"Santa Claus is coming?", Christmas 1989


"Santa Claus is coming?"
"Soon, Abby."
"He going to bring toys...and candy."
"Probably..."
"He come down chimney?"
"Maybe, but he might come through the window."
"Why?"
"Because the fireplace is dirty."
"When he coming?"
"After you're asleep."
"I want to see Santa."
"You have to sleep."
"Why?"
"Because you do..."
"Noelle see Santa?"
"No, she'll be asleep."
"He come with his reindeer?"
"Yes, Abby. Goodnight!"
"Mommy?"
"What is it, Abby?"
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"Merry Crismas, Mommy."
Merry Christmas, Sweetie.":

    "More rapid than eagles in a roadster they came..." Christmas, 1995

    I restored a 1953 MG during the summer, and used the car as the theme for this photoshop creation.

    "Homage to Rockwell," Christmas 1985

    Pastel drawing of my step son Wayd,
    my daughter Noelle, and our dog Dooner in the classic
    Saturday Evening Post style.




    "Make Your Holiday a Masterpiece," Christmas 1994



    Tis the season...


    Using styles of the masters along with words to describe the members of our family...including K.C. who passed on this past year.



    "Love"
    Barbara Rothacker based in a painting
    by Camille Jean Baptist Corot

    "Imagination"
    Kyle Emma based on a painting
    by Egon Schiele
    "Thankfulness" 
    George Rothacker based on a painting
    by Vincent Van Gogh

    "Hope" 
    Noelle Rothacker based on a painting
    by Amadeo Modigliani
    "Exuberance" 
    Abby Rothacker based on a painting
    by Edvard Munch
    "Trust"
    Wayd Emma based on a painting by
    Georges Rouaul
    "Loyalty"
    Wayd Emma based on a painting 
    by Henri Rousseau


    "Abby's House" Christmas, 1993


    Barbara and I gave Abby the doll house
    ]kit the previous Christmas. At the time I did the card, the house was still not complete. It took a full year to complete it, electricity and all. So the theme of the card in Abby's 11th year was this 8-page card.

    \

    "Noelle" Christmas, 1979


    My daughter, Noelle, was born on September 2, 1979. I named her Noelle, after the daughter of the singer Andy Williams, because I loved his warm Christmas specials and thought his daughter's name was beautiful and that she embodied the Christmas spirit.

    Christmas on Radnor Chester Road, 2005

    A beautiful morning on our street near Conestoga Road inspired this painting and card. A fence now blinds the view.

    Christmas, 1984

    "Gathering for the Holidays" 1991

    This was our first digital Christmas Card, using Poloroid photos and Adobe Photoshop to recreate a Victorian scene using our family.

    Gathering for the Holidays
    We enjoy the companionship
    Of loved ones near
    And cherish memories
    Of former holidays
    When others whom we
    Held dear as family
    Sat by our sides.

    An uncle, long departed,
    Takes on the familiar chore
    Of yesterday.
    Carving the giant bird
    And casting sober looks
    From chair to chair.

    We know him
    Today
    As Father—
    Brother—
    Son.

    A cousin
    Dusty in our memories
    Now visits us again
    With golden hair.
    And youthful laugh
    As Sister—
    Daughter—
    Niece.

    The immediacies of life
    Deceive us into believing
    That our generation is quite
    Unique,
    And that the outcome of our fate
    Remains squarely on our
    Shoulders.

    But life’s song is too often played
    Around us.
    Its crescendos mounting
    In time
    To a greater orchestration
    Than can be heard
    By any single generation
    Bound within the limits
    Of its own brief destiny.
     



    "Christmas on Grubbs Mill Road" 2009

    In 2009 I had a show of paintings, "From the Inner City to the Outer Mainline," at the Newman and Saunders Galleries in Wayne. Following the show I painted this snowy scene of a barn in Willistown Township in Chester County. I added a wreath for Christmas and used the painting for my card that year.

    Christmas 1990

    "Color your holiday with the joys of childhood." Christmas, 1988

    "Quarter to one on Saturday" Christmas, 1990


    A line of nine and
    Ten year olds
    Runny noses trailing down
    Their sleeves
    In scarves and
    Ear muffed caps
    Clutch quarters
    Waiting for the show to start.

    The snow began at ten.
    A dusting wet enough
    To pack and lob at cars
    And passersby
    Till the ticket window
    Opens
    And the row of toppling youths
    Fall towards the door.

    Once inside
    Some battle towards the scent
    Of popcorn scooped hot
    Into bags and boxes.

    Others rush to machines of candy
    Nickels fall
    And levers pull
    Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls
    And the longer lasting
    Jujubes and Necco Wafers
    Downward
    Into trays
    And waiting hands.

    The curtain parts
    For two cartoons
    Next week’s preview
    Then the feature film
    Projected against
    A kaleidoscopic background
    Of spinning, flying popcorn boxes
    And a cacophony of melodies
    Hummed through candy boxes
    Rhythms added
    By popping bags
    And soda cups flattened into base notes.

    The dreams of heroes
    Blazing trails
    And conquering lands
    Five times human size
    Flash
    In al too vivid
    Technicolor
    And a Cinemascopic view
    Far beyond the realities
    Of any child.

    But
    They remain with us
    As adults
    Blending with the memories
    Of growing up.
    Coloring the world
    In which we live
    Making it so less real
    Than what was played upon the screen
    Between one and three
    On Saturday.

    Wishing You an Award Winning Holiday Season


    PLEASE CLICK FOR ADDITIONAL CARDS