#SantaIsntCancelled - Part One – Marianne Vander Dussen

#SantaIsntCancelled - Part One


Christmas cards

I am so excited about this. Beyond excited. Nervous. Pumped. All of the things. 

When the lockdowns first started happening, I was incredibly concerned about two vulnerable groups: the first being longterm care patients, and the second being children in homes that were already struggling. With that in mind, I began trying to figure out how we could use art to reach out to both of those groups to make them feel valued, loved, and cherished during Christmas. 

All over the world, major events are being cancelled. So to counter this, I decided to call this campaign #SantaIsntCancelled. 

Part one of Santa Isn't Cancelled is an open invitation for anyone and everyone to create handmade Christmas cards with a holiday message inside for LTC residents. Many of these individuals have been sealed off from the outside world in the twilight of their lives, and any physical suffering they are experiencing may be compounded by the already prevalent mental strain of isolation and loneliness. 

A store bought Christmas card is lovely, but a handmade Christmas card shows love. It shows that someone took enough time out of their day to try something new, make something special, and write a thoughtful note to a stranger. It recognizes the dignity and inherent value of the recipient. That's why my goal is for EVERY longterm care resident across the province to receive a handmade Christmas card. 

On Wednesday, December 2nd at 12pm,  I will be doing a live broadcast via Youtube and Facebook to demonstrate how to make three different Christmas cards. The livestream will be available afterwards, so you can make your cards on your own schedule and not have to worry about tuning in at that exact time. My YouTube account is linked here, please be sure to subscribe

The first two cards will be watercolour, and the third will be acrylic paint. The full list of supplies is below (note, these are affiliate links).

PLEASE NOTE: These are suggestions only, and not "must haves." I know budgets are tight and that schools will use whatever they have available. That is 100% okay. 

Cards:  Strathmore 105015 Cold Press Watercolor Cards, 5" by 7", 10 Pack

If these are not available, you can use any kind of watercolour paper and just fold it in half, but it should be at least 140lb weight. Another example would be this: Strathmore STR-361-9 Watercolor Class (24 Pack), 9 by 12", that you would then fold in half. 

Watercolour Paints: I personally have something very similar to this, but any watercolour paint will do Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers Pocket Box

For the Christmas Ornaments, I used Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow/Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, and Burnt Umber, all by Winsor & Newton. Again, you do NOT need to have these colours on hand. Whatever you have will work. You can make your ornaments whatever colour you want.

For the Christmas tree, I used the above colours, as well as Sap Green, which came in the kit. If all you have is yellow and blue, you can mix them for green. 

Acrylic Paints: Ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson, titanium white, and mars black. I personally use the Liquitex Basics brand, you could also easily use Artist's Loft (the Michael's Brand) or any other paint you have. Again, you don't have to worry about having the perfect blue. You can make this with different colours/brands, but the result will just be slightly different than mine. Not a bad thing.

Brushes: I use dollar store brushes for the acrylic paint, and these sable brushes for watercolours: Paint Brush Set Artist Brush Set Fine Sable Hair Round Pointed Tip with Short Brown Wooden Handle for Acrylic Watercolor Oil Gouache Painting Set of 6

I like using rounded tips for watercolours because it gives me a great amount of versatility. I sound like a broken record here, but use whatever you have.

Other bonus items:

- Glitter (for adding a little bit of pizzazz to your cards)

- Speedball sketching pens with nibs (if you want to go old school with your written message inside, you'll need to purchase some matching India ink) Speedball Art Products SB2964 Sketching Project Set

That's it I'm so excited to get painting with all of you. If you need any support, or want to spearhead this initiative in your own community, please drop me a line! I will help you in any way that I can. 


1 comment


  • Jean Stephens

    Thanks so much Marianne, this is going to be a super Christmas for our seniors to enjoy. I looked forward to painting cards with you.


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