I Like Commercialism – Christmas 2016


I like Commercialism because I like presents. I like buying presents for my family and loved ones. I like sending them, bringing, them, opening them, sharing them. I like thinking about what to get and I like discovering cool things to get while I am going to get what I planned to get.


I like making presents too. But if I don’t make them that is ok. I like buying presents other people made and giving them. I like buying manufactured presents as well, since they are made by people too.


I like wrapping presents so they look nice under the tree and in the lap of the person who is about to open it.  I like the look on their face when they see something they weren’t expecting but are happy to get. I think it is funny to look at that same face when they get something they weren’t expecting and aren’t happy to get but are faking it.


I like getting presents. I like seeing what people thought I would like. I like trying on new clothes and sweaters and stuff to see if they fit and then showing them to the rest of the family. I like when my family does that as well. I like the funny items I get that are completely useless and would never be bought but for Christmas. I like how completely ridiculous they are, and how funny.


I think gift giving is love and if we focus most of that in one season, it’s fine by me. If that means much of the economic world revolves around that season, that is fine by me too.  It’s going to revolve around something and gift giving is as good a thing as anything else in my book.


It’s easy to say ‘I hate the commercialism of Christmas’.  But do you hate the gift giving of Christmas? If you don’t hate the gift giving than maybe it’s time to see the commercialism in a new light. The light of your love for those you give gifts to. I like to think of it like that.

Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Hamilton Wright Mabie, 1846-1916, American Essayist and Lecturer

The Glorious Mess – Christmas Truth #3


So don’t clean it up too soon!

Missed It

I’ve missed the crazy messy Christmas mornings that happen when kids are young.  Luckily this year we have our 2 grandkids coming for the first time so we will have a very messy Christmas. And I can’t wait!

Here’s wishing you a very Messy Merry Marty Christmas!

Drawing © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Andy Rooney, 1919 – 2011, American Radio and Television writer


The Tinsel Tangle – Christmas Truths #2


More Stress

There really is barely any other time of the year that can engender such high levels of stress among parents and families as Christmas.  Why is that?  It’s the same reason stress rears its ugly head at any other time, expectations of perfection.  The tree needs to be perfect, the food, the presents, the living arrangements, the activities, the conversation, the travel plans, and more.  The perceived need for perfection is the recipe for stress.

Less Stress

Then why do certain families not have the same level of stress as others at Christmas time? It certainly isn’t that they decorate less or plan less or do less. It’s because they have all those activities in their proper place, as secondary to love. Loving their family and friends is what drives them, not presenting perfection to them.  

What is most important

That doesn’t mean you aren’t showing love by making a beautiful Christmas experience for them. Working hard to make it all be fantastic is great. What isn’t great is thinking that if everything isn’t perfect you have failed.  Because failure comes from your family walking away from Christmas feeling stressed themselves.  Success comes from them feeling loved.

Focus on that and you won’t let Christmas get your tinsel in a tangle.


Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote was contributed by @Lornaknits on Periscope for our monthly drawing giveaway. The Best Christmas Quote was this month and this one got the most votes.  Congrats Lorna!



Loving Jesus – Christmas Truths #1


Their Truth

There are those who don’t pay any attention to Jesus during the year but certainly love being able to indulge in Christmas because of Jesus’ birth.  

Their Truth

There are those who think celebrating a birthday, any birthday, is not to be done. They pay attention to Jesus but ignore Christmas as a Holy day from God.

Their Truth

There are those who do both. They are followers of Jesus in one form or another and they also celebrate Christmas.  The like Christmas but they would follow Jesus whether Christmas came around each year or not.

Your Truth

Which truth do you live with? Or is there another truth you follow?

Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Melanie White



What Matters – Christmas 2012

merry christmas 2012

What Matters


It’s not about the gift,

It’s not about the reason.

It’s not about the money,

And it’s not about season.


It’s just about the love,

Dressed up or in tatters.

Feel it, show it, give it,

And that’s what truly matters.


Merry and Happy,  Marty


How vs What – Gift Giving Note #1

This is my gift to you – a week of notes on Gift Giving. Aren’t you happy?

gift giving note #1

Trauma Giving

It’s so simple it only needs one sentence.  Don’t be a stingy jerk at Christmas or Hannukah.  Ok, maybe a few more sentences.  That doesn’t mean you give a lot. It means what you give you give willingly, with joy and enthusiasm.  If you complain about the cost of something, especially to the person you are giving it to, then DON’T FREAKING BUY IT in the first place!  If you complain about how hard it was to find something, how they better enjoy it, how you hope they appreciate all the terrible trauma you went to to get it…then you are ruining the gift giving. Just shut up and give it to them with a smile.  You can tell them all about the near death experience of your Christmas shopping in your memoirs or when you are in couples counseling, but don’t do it Christmas morning.

Gracious Giving

The attitude of gracious gift giving is what your loved ones will remember and learn from, not the gift itself (unless you give them an encyclopedia, then they will probably learn from the gift as well). Of course, to get to gracious giving you might want to stay within your means and give gifts you enjoyed getting, finding, making, buying, discovering for that particular person.  Just a thought.


Drawing and quote by Marty Coleman, who never drew a violin before (that he can remember).


Interesting Gift Giving fact of the day

People with longer last names give more gifts at Christmas

(source: The Goods – the blog of uncommon goods)



The Christmas Next Year

christmas next year

We had a different Christmas this year for a few reasons.  None of my three biological daughters were here, I have been crazy busy getting pieces finished and ready for my upcoming ‘Velveteen Women’ exhibition (opening January 6th at Living Arts of Tulsa) and just a sort of general fatigue about the ‘work’ of decorating for Christmas.  We did decorate, but not as much as usual.  We watched a Christmas movie and TV show or two, but not the usual dozen or so.  Caitlin, my step-daughter, had mixed feelings about this. She didn’t get into it quite as much, she felt bad, ok, resigned, relieved all at various times.  Linda, my wife, felt the same way.  But Christmas morning was wonderful, Christmas brunch with the family was especially fun, as was Christmas Eve.  In the end it was different, but it was good.

Here is what I felt.  Christmas does not occur exactly the same each year even if it seems to. It has mutations to the sameness that sometimes makes it brighter, sometimes a bit more melancholy, sometimes devastatingly different, sometimes virtually the same. But it is never really the same, is it?  Christmas rhymes with Christmases past, it doesn’t repeat them.

How do you feel about Christmas (or any holiday) changing in your life from year to year? How do the changes in you make those changes happen?

Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, owner of a really small car.

Quote by Mark Twain, who is now dead.

Christmas Blessing

Hello to all my Napkin Kin!  Here is my final Christmas Card of 2011 (well, it’s really a napkin but it plays a card on the internet)

Christmas Blessing

The final words at the end of each All Souls Unitarian Church service in Tulsa is this, “Go then – be blessed and be a blessing.”  I always love hearing that because it puts in 8 words what life is all about. We aren’t told to deny ourselves – it’s ok to allow yourself to be blessed, whether by God, universe or human, via a Christmas present or a cosmic blessing. But we are also told that it is not a one way street. We are to be a blessing as well. We don’t have to change the world, we just need to give the gift we can give. It might be our presence, it might be a new car or it might be a drum solo like the little drummer boy gave.  Whatever it is, you are capable of blessing someone.

I hope both for you this Christmas and holiday season.


Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad

Christmas Heart

Here is a Christmas napkin from 2010 that I like enough to post again this year.  Pretty simple – Act Christmas and it will be Christmas.

I will be mixing in some older napkins (with some new ones as well) over the next 2 weeks.  This is because I am busy getting ready for an exhibition of my photo-collages at Living Arts of Tulsa. It opens January 6th at 6pm. The show is titled ‘Velveteen Women’and if you can make the opening I would love to see you there!

My 2011 Christmas Card to You

This is my 2011 Christmas card to you, my Napkin Kin.

Merry and Happy

And the most important thing; he liked them.  He didn’t hang out with all those odd people trying to convert them,  feeling sorry for them, or feeling an obligation to ‘minister’ to them.  If he had, they wouldn’t have trusted him. Even back then a person can tell when someone has an agenda for the relationship.  What I believe is that he liked who they were.  He didn’t spend his time figuring out how to appear to care for them.  He just cared for them.

And guess what? He let them care for him too.  I mean, after all, is there a greater outcast in history than Jesus?  They liked him even with all his wild ideas and uber-serious talk about God and heaven.  They stuck by their friend even when he acted really strange and seemed self-destructive (which he was when you think about it).  They forgave what they probably thought of as his arrogance (Really, you’re saying you are the Son of God? Really?).

My Christmas wish is that, if you are an outcast, you will be given the gift of feeling both loved and liked exactly as you are.  If you are not, then my Christmas wish is that you will tear down the fearful wall of judgment and bring the outcast in.

Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, An outcast lover since 1973.

Quote by John Ortberg, American pastor

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