Design: Mirroring American Taste

Christmas cards tell us religion is up, but Santa is down

The Christmas cards we put on our mantels and tuck in our Venetian blinds are not just greetings from relatives, friends, would-be friends and dry cleaners. They are mirrors of American culture—the neighborly and the utopian, the tacky and the cutesie, the schmaltzy and the smutty, the corny and the phony, the humorous and the sentimental. Lately there are also some fresh and appealing designs, as well as good art, old and new.

The reflections are accurate. The greeting card industry, displaying its...

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