The Madison County Herald "Serving Madison County, Mississippi since 1892"

December 4, 2004

Card means close shave for Santa

By Lucy Weber

Special to The Herald

MADISON Santa without a beard? Say it isn't so, Shaver's Choice.

A Madison company recruited some Madison Central High School advanced art students to design a Christmas card promoting its shaving products and spreading some holiday cheer.

The results, being mailed out now on 200 cards, are a red-suited, white-bearded jolly old elf contemplating a handful of shaving gel on the cover and an obvious after-Christmas Santa in more casual attire at the mirror, razor in hand, with Mrs. Claus looking on approvingly.

"Do you think Mrs. Claus wants those wiry whiskers on her all year long?" joked Michael Van Velkinburgh, the company vice president of sales and operations. "Besides, he's got all year to grow it back."

Joking aside, Van Velkinburgh said he and company president Brenda Thornton love Christmas and wanted a unique company card to send to clients, distributors and vendors.

Special to The Herald

"We love the season. We wanted to do something fun with our cards and do something unique," he said.

To come up with a unique design, Shaver's Choice sponsored a design contest, inviting the students of MC art teacher Willie Shoulders to submit entries, letting their imaginations run wild.

"We didn't want to confine them. We told them: Christmas, shaving and Santa," Van Velkinburgh said.

Company officials chose the top three designs. The cover with a cartoon of a still hairy Santa was done by senior Jamie Nash.

Inside, the shaving Santa, with elves and reindeer watching from a balcony, was drawn by senior Sarah Bryan Lewis. The third artist, whose work wasn't featured on the card but one the company wants to recognize, is senior Marlena Sigman.

All three will receive a small scholarship from the company, Van Velkinburgh said.

The card reads "Merry Christmas to all ... and to all a great shave. May the blessings of Christmas be yours throughout the coming year."

Lewis said the students were told to develop a design "with a shaving theme." She said she was joking around when she decided to have Santa start shaving his long, white beard off.

"Once I came up with the idea and had it all planned out, it probably took me about an hour and a half to draw it out and then another hour and a half to color it in," Lewis said.

"I'm really excited about it," she said. "I've never been published."

Nash said coming up with her Santa, drawn with colored pencils, took some time in the fall when most folks weren't thinking about Christmas. "It took a lot of thought. I tried many sketches. Then I decided to do something really simple."

This card isn't Nash's first published holiday work. Last year, as a student at St. Joseph Catholic School, her design of carolers was chosen for the school's card.

Van Velkinburgh said they expect to continue the card contest next year and maybe go to a different school to find artists, he said.


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